The remaining 12 persons detained in connection with a violent protest that damaged millions of United States dollars worth of properties at the ArcelorMittal concession area in Nimba County, may likely be temporarily freed, if their request for bail is accepted by Judge Boima Kontoe.
Cllr. Kontoe is the presiding judge of the Saniquellie Criminal Court in Nimba County, where the crimes were committed.
ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company operating in the country.
The 12 were among 41 persons who were directly involved in the riots and were subsequently released on bail.
They were charged in early July 2014 with multiple charges, including rioting and armed robbery.
In their request for bail, the defense lawyers argued that there is no physical evidence or probable cause to believe that the crime charged were committed and the defendants were the people who committed the crime.
The defense lawyers further argued that prosecutors failed to display the confiscated arms as physical evidence.
According to the defense lawyers, since there is not enough evidence, the court should grant their clients bail, so that they may be temporarily released from further detention at the Monrovia Central Prison.
However, prosecutors, in counter argument, maintained that enough probable cause exists to require the court to bind the 12 defendants over to the grand jury (that is, for their cases to go to a grand jury).
And the request for bail must be denied, because the crimes they were charged with are capital offenses and are non-bailable ones.
Under the law, a suspect is usually allowed to get out of jail by posting bail unless he or she is accused of a capital crime.
A capital crime is a crime such as murder, rape, or armed robbery that is punishable by long prison sentences, life imprisonment, or death. Bail, or surety, is generally denied by the courts for defendants accused of these types of crime.
In many cases, bail is also denied if the defendant is a repeat offender or if the crime is a violent one.
Also, bail is a certain amount of money or property value that must be posted with the court.
By posting bail, a suspect can avoid having to wait in jail until his or her trial. The money or property is a guarantee that the accused will appear in court for each required court appearance and for the trial.
Judge Kontoe will this week decide whether enough evidence has been presented by the prosecution to establish sufficient probable cause to deny the bond request; or whether there exists no evidence to have the defendants’ bail denied.
The defendants are accused of setting ablaze the properties of ArcelorMittal, including several pieces of mining equipment, a locomotive train, and made away with several valuable items.
They were said to have fled to several hideouts, including their homes where they were arrested by officers of the Liberia National Police to undergo investigation in keeping with law.