Barely a week after Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘A’ denied prosecutors’ request to order Power TV Station to produce the video recording it televised showing the burning to death of Chief Inspector of the Police Support Unit (PSU), Amos Tutu, the Supreme Court yesterday overturned the decision.
The High Court took the decision immediately after the Presiding Justice in Chambers Associate Justice Kabinah Ja’neh granted a ‘Writ of Certiorari’ filed against Judge Dixon’s action to the Supreme Court by lawyers representing the government.
Certiorari is a writ that seeks judicial review and it is issued by a superior court directing an inferior court, tribunal, or other public authority to send the record of a proceeding for review.
Inspector Tutu was allegedly set ablaze on August 13, 2010 on the Capitol By-pass in Monrovia, leading to the arrests of several persons who have been charged with murder. Two of the accused are currently on trial.
Tutu was alleged to have shot and killed one Preston Davis, which allegedly prompted a mob action by angry residents, who subsequently overpowered him, poured gasoline on him and set him ablaze as Power TV reportedly recorded and televised the scene of the officer’s death.
Prosecutors had asked Judge Dixon to order the station to produce in court the recording of the officer on fire so that it could be used as part of their evidence, but the Judge denied the request.
Justice Ja’neh requested a subpoena duces tecum on Power TV as prayed for by the petitioner (prosecutors). A ‘subpoena duces tecum’ is a court order requiring the person named in it to produce certain books, papers, or other tangible items for the court.
In reaction Judge Dixon said, “By virtue of the mandate of the Honorable Supreme Court, the First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Court ‘A’ hereby rescinds (withdraws) its two previous rulings on the subject matter of the Writ of Subpoena duces tecum that should have been served on the management of Power TV to produce the video recording/tape showing the burning to death of the PSU officer Amos Tutu on the Capitol Bye-Pass.” He thereafter ordered the clerk to issue a writ of subpoena duces tecum on the management of Power TV to produce the televised recording of the burning of the late Inspector Tutu on February 27, 2010.
Judge Dixon ordered the management of Power TV to appear before the court on Thursday, October 1, at 11 a.m. to produce the recording.