A plan by House Speaker Alex Tyler to have himself tried separately from other co-defendants, including Senator Varney Sherman, implicated in the Global Witness bribery allegation was yesterday rejected by Judge Emery Paye of Criminal Court ‘C.’
Judge Paye said Tyler failed to give any justifiable reason why he should be qualified for a separate trial.
“Speaker Tyler has not shown a defense or given any genuine legal ground to be tried alone from other co-defendants because his evidence would not be in line,” Judge Paye clarified.
Furthermore, the Criminal Court judge explained that Speaker Tyler’s argument that he and his colleagues ratified the amended controversial 2005 Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Act based on a letter from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf does not also qualify him for a separate trial.
That contention, Judge Paye said, should have been raised by Tyler during the trial, that for now, the argument is not enough to grant his appeal.
Therefore, Judge Paye declared, “The request for separate trial is denied and the prosecutors’ resistance is accepted.”
In their request, Speaker Tyler’s legal team argued that their client’s defense would conflict with the other co-defendants if they were tried together, because he only acted on President Sirleaf’s request for them (lawmakers) to ratify the amended PPCC Act, which they did and was printed into hand bills.
They further argued that their client did not receive a dime to change portions of the PPCC Act to award Wologizi Mountain, in Lofa County, to Sable Mining without going through the Commission’s competitive bidding process, as was alleged by the Global Witness report, the basis for the indictment.
In counterargument, prosecutors admitted to President Sirleaf’s letter to the Legislature, but clarified that it was not intended for the lawmakers to change the PPCC Act.
They said their contention was that Speaker Tyler allegedly conspired with other co-defendants to receive over US$900,000 from Sable Mining to change the PPCC Act in favor of the mining company.