Lawyers prosecuting former National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director Matilda Parker and her Comptroller Christiana Kpabar Paelay yesterday left Criminal Court ‘C’ feeling disappointed when their request to disband the sequestrated jury was rejected by Judge Blamo Dixon.
Judge Dixon also removed two jurors—Melvin Teah Neowen and Kebbeh Kollie from the panel. Prosecution accused the two of being behind a plot to collect money from the defendants to influence the outcome of the trial.
Judge Dixon also removed another juror, Kissi Kamara, who is the foreman (head) from the panel on grounds that his mother Janneh Kamara was the person who is currently cooking for the jury.
Madam Kamara was also implicated in the jury tampering allegation, which Judge Dixon dismissed yesterday.
The prosecution had earlier accused the Jury Management Team that recruited the panel of conspiring with a female bailiff (court officer) Madam Bendu Dukuly and Bailiff Roland Nyankun to influence the jurors to bring down a verdict in favor of the defendants.
During her investigation, Bailiff Dukuly claimed that she received four letters dated January 30, two of them from the Assistant Manager of the Jury Management Team, Winston Fayiah, and the remaining two from Madam Jenneh Kamara.
The claim Fayiah and Madam Kamara denied when each of them were separately investigated by Judge Dixon and both legal teams of the defense and the prosecution.
Further in his ruling, Judge Dixon said, “During the conduct of the investigation it was established that all four letters did not reach the entire panel and also the communications did not reach the jurors to whom they were addressed or intended for.”
The judge ruled that the jurors were at their jury quarters before the officer of the Liberia National Police (LNP) assigned at the Temple of Justice to provide protection for the sequestrated jury confiscated those letters.
“The investigation also established that only the two bailiffs, the police officers and the prosecution had knowledge of the letters for ten days from January 30 up to February 10,” Judge Dixon stated, adding “the court established that the documents were not the original copies but photocopies.
The prosecution did not establish the whereabouts of the originals of the said instruments.”
Judge Dixon, while removing Bailiff Dukuly and Roland Nyankun, fined them US$100 each to be placed into government revenue within 72 hours, and adjourned the hearing of the matter to Monday, February 22.