Drama unfolded last week at the Buchanan Magisterial Court in Grand Bassa County, when scores of traditional leaders stormed the courtroom and withdrew a criminal case involving the county’s finance officer, Sylvester Taylor, and the leader of a group known as “Aggrieved Bassa Citizens,” Du-Ben Cleon.
Defendant Cleon was charged by the court with multiple crimes ranging from malevolence, disorderly conduct and terrorist threats when the traditional leaders interfered in the matter.
More besides, the court had also granted a criminal appearance bond filed to prevent Cleon from going to jail. The crimes under the law qualify for bail.
Taylor and his wife, Leonie, initially complained to the court that the defendant allegedly threatened to lead a group of people to demonstrate against and physically attack them as a means of preventing them from leaving the county.
They further alleged that the threat was made on a local radio station, Radio One, in Lower Hardlandville Township outside of Buchanan.
The alleged incident, according to Taylor, took place on October 2.
It all started while the case was in progress when the traditional leaders, headed by Grand Bassa County supreme grand Zoe Edward Gramar, informed Senior Associate Magistrate, Vasco Brown, that they had opted to have the matter resolved outside of court.
Grand zoe Gramar was accompanied to the court by the Grand Bassa County chairman of the National Traditional Council, John Taywayou.
Immediately, Magistrate Brown agreed with the request made by the elders.
He however did not explain on what legal grounds he had decided to throw out the criminal case from his courtroom.
At the end of the day, the traditional leaders informed the Daily Observer Grand Bassa correspondent that the matter had been amicably resolved.
In his complaint, Taylor further alleged that the defendant accused him of stealing money from the county’s coffers to travel with his wife to the United States of America.
It was based on that complaint that the court said the statement was risky and it placed the Taylors in a state of fear and agony, causing them to abandon their homes.
Senior Associate Magistrate Vasco Brown also considered the alleged complaint as criminal and a violation of sections 11.2, 14.24 and 17.3 of the New Penal Law of Liberia.