Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ on Friday denied a petition filed by lawyers representing defendants Robert Lambin and Layee Kromah to prevent Magistrate Tweh Wesseh of Gardnerville Magisterial Court from compelling the duo to produce the DAF Truck that allegedly got missing in the courtyard of the Temple of Justice.
Judge Dixon also mandated Magistrate Wesseh to resume jurisdiction over the case in accordance with the law.
Lawyers for the defendants had filed an Action for Summary Proceedings against Magistrate Wesseh for his decision compelling the defendants to produce the truck or risk imprisonment for their failure to do so on Wednesday, January 24.
Judge Dixon’s decision came immediately after Wesseh’s lead lawyer Jonathan Massaquoi argued that the petition did not pinpoint any error and or violation of the law by the magistrate to have the defendants imprisoned if they did not produce the truck.
Massaquoi also argued that for Wesseh to demand that he would not proceed with the merit of the case until the vehicle was brought under his jurisdiction, was legally required in criminal proceedings which in this case rendered the petition fit for dismissal.
However, in the Action for Summary Proceedings against Magistrate Wesseh, Cllr. Gongloe argued that when Lambin was arrested upon the orders of Wesseh, they filed a valid criminal appearance bond valued at US$60,000 to have the defendant produce the truck.
Gongloe claimed that before filing the bond, and while Lambin was still sitting on the prisoner’s bench as a criminal, Wesseh ordered that the vehicle be brought to court as surety since there was no criminal bond for Lambin at the time.
They also admitted that Lambin bought the truck for US$26,500 from defendant Kromah, who is on the run.
“After filing the bond, the need for the vehicle as security for the appearance of the defendant was secured became mute by legal proceeding,” the lawsuit said.
They also argued that Wesseh ignored the fact that Lambin had filed a valid bond, but proceeded to place him on the prisoner’s bench, because the lawyers did not produce the alleged stolen vehicle, for which the magistrate threatened to imprison those that signed the promissory note – contrary to law, and erroneously claiming that their action was contemptious.
“The action by Wesseh to compel Lambin to bring the vehicle, subject to the writ of arrest court, is not supported by law,” the Petition maintained.
Lawyers representing the defendants had earlier implored Magistrate Wesseh to have his produce the truck on Saturday, January 20, minutes after Lambin was released after filing a criminal appearance bond through a promissory note.
That note was then signed by both lawyers representing the defendants– a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer. According to the note, one of the lawyers for the defendants Cllr. Phillip Gongloe promised to produce the car in line with the court’s order on Wednesday, January 24, at 12 p.m. an arrangement which met the approval of the defendant, Lambin.
It was based on the promissory note that Magistrate Wesseh ordered the release of Lambin to his lawyers.
The truck allegedly got missing on Friday, January 19, from the premises of the Temple of Justice, several minutes after Magistrate Wesseh issued the arrest order for Lambin, who was the buyer of the vehicle, as well as Kromah the seller and simultaneously ordered the vehicle in question impounded.
Thereafter, Court officers successfully arrested Lambin, one of two defendants who admitted being in possession of the truck but failed to produce it.