In total disregard to Article 20 (f) of the 1986 Constitution, the Liberia National Police (LNP), yesterday failed to turn over to the Monrovia City Court a 49-year old man, Musa Konneh in its custody, accused of raping a 12-year old girl, who subsequently died.
Article 20 (f) states that “every person arrested or detained shall be formally charged and presented before a court of competent jurisdiction within forty-eight hours. Should the court determine the existence of a prima facie case against the accused, it shall issue a formal writ of arrest setting out the charge or charges and shall provide for a speedy trial. There shall be no preventive detention.”
But, it has taken almost 9 days since Konneh was arrested after he allegedly raped Musu Fofana on Sunday, January 18, in the Moulton Corner community, Brewerville outside of Monrovia without being charged and turned over for prosecution.
His absence at the Temple of Justice yesterday left several persons and family members of the victim who had gone to the area to get a glance of Konneh disappointed. They were seen on the compound of the Temple of Justice asking whether the defendant would appear at the court.
When Magistrate Kennedy Peabody, the judge who should have handled the matter was contacted by our judicial correspondent he replied “I don’t have any knowledge about the case and I don’t know when the police will be sending him to court.”
He added, “I can’t force anyone to bring a case before me and I’m not looking for cases. It is they who will bring their matter to court and not for me to look for them.”
A judicial expert also hinted to the Daily Observer that the delay could be based on a weeklong workshop for state lawyers (prosecutors) taking place in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.
“All of the prosecutors are attending a workshop in Buchanan City; I believed this could be one of the reasons for which Konneh did not appear before Magistrate Peabody today,” the judicial source further said.
Recently, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf vowed to personally intervene and ensure that is the case is investigated without delay and justice is served concerning the rape and subsequent death of 12-year old Musu Fofana which occurred on Sunday, January 18.
President Sirleaf also vowed to include into the investigation, health facilities which refused the victim medical treatment as well as those police officers who denied the passage at a Check Point of the vehicle that was conveying the victim to JFK Hospital for treatment.