Prosecutors have begun presenting evidence against those they believe were behind the trafficking of ten Liberian girls to Lebanon. The girls have recently been repatriated.
The hearing started yesterday at the Temple of Justice. Some of the girls, who may serve as state witnesses, were spotted entering the office of the grand jury at Criminal Court ‘A,’ to provide evidence against the suspects for a possible indictment.
An indictment is a formal written charge issued by a grand jury in a criminal case.
The girls were individually escorted to the jury’s office by Montserrado County Attorney, Daku Mulbah, who is one of government’s lead lawyers.
It has not been established whether those accused of trafficking the girls are in the country or if they have been arrested.
The decision to have the girls present their testimonies yesterday is in accordance with the Liberian government’s vow to prosecute those responsible for trafficking them.
According to a judicial expert, the jury will determine whether enough evidence exists to charge the suspects with a criminal offense.
The Liberian government recently announced that it would bring human trafficking charges against the suspects.
It is not clear whether other charges will be added as the prime witnesses produce their testimonies.
The expert also divulged that the grand jury proceedings will be confidential. Apparently, it was to protect their privacy that the girls were secretly escorted to the office of the grand jury.
The suspects and their lawyers cannot be present at that hearing, according to our legal expert.
If the grand jury determines that the case may be brought to trial, the jury will issue a “true bill” decision, and the suspects are formally charged with the alleged crime, our expert stated.
On the contrary, if a “no true bill” decision is issued, it means there is insufficient evidence for a criminal trial, the expert pointed out.
He added that the grand jury indictment itself is usually drafted by the prosecutor and simply approved by the jury.