Lawmaker backs off
By Abednego Davis
The Monrovia City Court yesterday dropped criminal coercion charges brought against child rights activist Abraham M. Keita by Grand Gedeh County District #2 Representative Morais Waylee.
Keita was charged with criminal coercion after Rep. Waylee claimed the child rights advocate organized a protest at the Capitol Building where he called on lawmakers to have Waylee investigated on allegations that he raped and impregnated a 13-year old girl.
Waylee had earlier sworn that he would pursue the criminal coercion case to prove his innocence.
Criminal coercion involves making threats or using force with the purpose of unlawfully restricting someone else’s freedom to engage in or refrain from engaging in a certain act.
Meanwhile, dismissing Waylee’s criminal coercion lawsuit, Magistrate Kennedy Peabody said the lawmaker admitted that he was finding it difficult to prove his case against the child rights activist, and declared it “nolle prosequi” in Keita’s favor.
“The statement is an admission that the charges cannot be proven. Because of this, we are discharging defendant Keita from further answering to the charges,” Peabody declared yesterday, and issued a Clerk Certificate to Keita declaring his innocence.
“Nolle prosequi” means “we shall no longer prosecute,” which is a declaration made to a judge by a prosecutor in a criminal case (or by a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit) either before or during trial, meaning the case against the defendant is being dropped.
“This was not because of any lack of effort on the side of the prosecutors in developing a case against Keita, but there was no physical evidence from Waylee’s testimony for us to pursue the lawsuit against the child rights activist,” said a state lawyer.
By law, the prosecution of criminal cases falls in the purview of the government, of which criminal coercion is no exception.
It can be recalled that at a press conference, Keita challenged Rep. Waylee to prove his allegation against him, because he (Keita) had “done nothing wrong.”
“What I find unfathomable and unthinkable is the charge of criminal coercion against me for calling for his recusal, arrest and investigation of rape allegations,” Keita said in a press release.
“If the lawmaker thinks and feels that a lawsuit will stop or intimidate me from standing up and speaking out for the rights of women and girls and against rape, he is wrong,” he said, while vowing to fight injustices.
“I will continue to be a voice for justice and to champion the rule of law…the lawmaker will not be allowed to use the justice system or our courts to frighten me and other advocates.”