— As the Ministry of Gender pushes murder charges
The Liberia National Police (LNP) on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, forwarded Emmanuel Brown and his girlfriend, Wannah Taplah, to the Monrovia City Court on charges of manslaughter and criminal facilitation relating to 11 years old Jerome Brown, who was reportedly starved to death in the Palm Beach Community.
Maminah Carr, Deputy Minister for Children Social Protection at the Ministry of Gender, having been involved with the case from the beginning, said it is sad that the charges will be “Manslaughter, Criminal Facilitation.”
“We went in the field and have been working with the police. Therefore, this should actually be murder. It is sad that the charges are indeed bailable,” Minister Carr said.
Both Brown and Taplah spent their first night in the Monrovia Central Prison while the police was investigating circumstances surrounding the condition of the deceased child.
The charges against them are according to Chapter 10, section 10.2 of the revised penal code of Liberia. The crime further violates chapter 14, subchapter A, section 14.2 of the revised penal law of Liberia.
According to the Police charge sheet, the deceased, Jerome Brown, was the first child of defendant Emmanuel Brown’s three kids by his ex-lover, Mama Cole. Jerome struggled with epilepsy from the day of birth up to his demise on February 14, 2021.
The charge sheet quoted Emmanuel as saying that little Jerome was taken to a hospital and a traditional herbalist in Nimba, Grand Cape Mount and Grand Bassa counties, but there had been no improvement in his condition.
It further indicated that the minor, along with his two brothers, were with their mother, Mama Cole, in Compound #4, Grand Bassa County, but their father failed to support them, for which the mother of the deceased decided that Jerome being the oldest should stay with the father while she attends to the rest.
Police investigation also unearthed that while the deceased was living with his father and stepmother; he continually experienced the epilepsy that it caused him to run into the Atlantic Ocean on one occasion and some neighbors in the community.
This experience, the charge sheet said, caused Emmanuel Brown to keep Jerome indoors always whenever he is going on his fishing expeditions.
Police added that the deceased began to deteriorate in his appearance when the mother brought him to his father.
The father, on the other hand, did not take the child to any medical facility or provide the necessary care for him according to police investigation.
The police charge mentioned that on Sunday February 14, through the concern of community dwellers raised an alarm over the deplorable condition of the child, and by the directive of the community chairman they went over at the defendant’s house and brought the child out.
The investigation established that the chairman only identified as Morris, instructed two community dwellers, Olive Kollie, a lady to be identified, and the deceased’s stepmother to take him to MSF hospital located at the Barnesville junction. Upon their arrival, the charge sheet noted that the child was pronounced dead.
The Civil Society Organization Platform and the Justice Forum Liberia escorted the case to the court yesterday
Maxson S. Kpakio, Executive Director of Justice Forum Liberia, said as an institution that advocates for social justice, they are observing that the charges are more than manslaughter and criminal facilitation.
He said they are looking up to the court to ensure that the right things are done to avoid recurrence of such an inhumane act.