Several photo copies of documentary evidence that could have been a legal stumbling block in the US$3.7 million drug case against former presidential convoy chief were yesterday, thrown out by Judge Yussif Kaba of Criminal Court ‘C,’ at the Temple of Justice.
The court’s decision was made after lawyers representing Perry Dolo and four other defendants discovered that prosecutors had insereted the documents, claiming to be the voluntary statements of confession made by the defendants, during an investigation with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
In his ruling, Judge Kaba held that under the law, photo copy of pecies of evidence, particularly alleged statements of confession, are not admissible in a criminal case.
He made it clear that prosecutors failed to produce the original statements, claiming that the statements presented were made by the defendants, during their investigation by the DEA.
The rejected statements were some of the evidences prosecutors were relying on to prove their case against the defendants.
Legal experts described the rejection of the documents as “a significant setback for prosecutors.”
Dolo, together with Sekou Rogers, Augustine Saah, Cyrus Slewion and Mohammed Bah, were indicted for being in possession of 10 bags of marijuana weighing 315kilograms and valued as LD$330,750,000. They have denied the drug-related charge.
The drugs were allegedly found in an escort police vehicle.
The charge, which was defined under the law as an act “eminently dangerous to human life,” carries a long prison term.
Also, at Wednesday’s hearing, prosecutors’ fourth witnesses, Augustine Doe, chief investigator of the DEA, admitted that the defendants were not represented by a counsel when they were interrogated by his team.
He quickly justified that the defendants chose to wave their rights to a legal counsel, as provided for under the law.
He made the revelation during his testimony at the court.
But, under the law anyone that is taken into custody needs to be acquainted with the following rights: the right to remain silent; that anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law; that they have the right to be represented by counsel; and that if they cannot afford an attorney, the state should appoint one for that person.
In early November, 2013, a grand jury of Grand Cape Mount indicted Perry Dolo, who was then commander of Presidential Convoy, and four others with the commission of the crime in the unlawful possession of narcotic drugs and criminal facilitation.