Judge Karboi Nuta of Criminal Court ‘B’ yesterday fined two state lawyers US$100 each for their failure to ensure the appearance of officer Monroe Dennis of the Liberia National Police (LNP) for the second day in row to continue with his testimony.
Judge Nuta’s decision came immediately after he suspended last Monday’s hearing to allow the prosecution to encourage Dennis to honor the court’s order to testify.
When the court resumed yesterday, Dennis was again nowhere to be found, which prompted the judge to fine each of the lawyers US$100.
In his judgment, Nuta criticized “the prosecution’s deliberate action of disobeying the court’s order and misleading the court,” and held them in contempt and fined them US$100 each to be paid within 24 hours.
“Let it be clear that prosecution’s failure to comply with this order will necessitate the required legal action, one of which will be to have them arrested and incarcerated until compliance,” Judge Nuta stated.
Earlier, the prosecution made a request for postponement to the court claiming Dennis’s illness, which the court granted and subsequently suspended the matter to yesterday, Tuesday, January 17.
But the judge said after that request, he immediately sent court officers along with the defense counsel to Dennis’s office at the LNP headquarters.
“They later reported that Dennis was at work and not ill as claimed by the state lawyers, and he has again deliberately absented himself with the knowledge of prosecution,” Nuta noted.
Dennis was the officer whose investigation led to the subsequent indictment of former Executive Protection Service (EPS) Deputy Director Darlington George and James Tamba, an officer assigned with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, with the commission of crimes of aggravated assault and criminal facilitation in connection with the alleged brutality against Esther Glain in Barnesville Estate in 2015.
The criminal court judge had earlier rejected Dennis’s investigative report that prosecution was relying on to convict the defendant because it was not presented to the defense team prior to the trial.