Criminal Court ‘C’, where the Global Witness (GW) bribery scandal is being tried has condemned the “strategy” employed by defense lawyers, which the court says is undermining the hearing of the merits of the case.
The defense team had filed multiple pretrial motions as part of their strategies to delay the case, for which their clients were indicted in 2016. This action now constrained the court from hearing the merits of the allegations.
One such behavior was demonstrated yesterday during the hearing of prosecution’s “motion to amend the indictment” which was to be the final request after which, the process of selecting jurors, who will help Judge Yamie Gbeisay to determine the matter, would have immediately commenced.
That did not happen yesterday due to another “motion to strike” filed to the court by defendant Varney Sherman’s lawyer.
In the court’s decision, Judge Gbeisay said by law and procedure, the motion to amend cannot be heard due to Sherman’s motion to strike.
“While these motions may be necessary to determine incidental issues, this court advised lawyers representing defendant Sherman to be time conscious so as to give the impression that the parties are not interested in the determination of the merits of this matter,” Gbeisay emphasized. “As a consequence of the filing of the motion to strike, the hearing of the motion to amend the indictment assigned for today (yesterday) is hereby postponed until the motion to strike is determined.”
Prosecution filed that motion on February 8, and on the next day, February 9, the court ensured that each defense lawyer, including those representing defendant Sherman and former House Speaker Alex Tyler, was served.
Senator Sherman and several past and present public officials including former Speaker Tyler were indicted by the Special Presidential Taskforce (SPTF) based on the GW report.
Sherman and his co-defendants were implicated by the report for receiving over US$950,000 as bribes from Sable Mining to change the revised 2010 Public Procurement Concession Commission Act to award the exploration of Wologizi Mountain in Lofa County to the company.
They are on trial for the commission of the crimes of bribery, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, facilitation and solicitation.