Sherman ‘Unaware’ of Trial on TV

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Cllr. Moses Paegar, one of the lead lawyers for Senator Varney G. Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County indicted in the Global Witness bribery scandal yesterday clarified that there is no request before Criminal Court ‘C’ regarding televising the trial as being assured by Cllr. Fonati Koffa, head of the Special Presidential Task Force.

Cllr. Paegar, who is also the president of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) argued that there is not a single request from the court in that direction.

“If they were interested in televising the entire case they would have done that by filing an application to the court of which a copy would be sent to us, lawyers,” Cllr. Paegar noted when he spoke with the Daily Observer via mobile phone.

He added, “But, nothing has been filed so how would they inform Liberians that the case would be on television?”

“We are not going to dignify or rebut it,” Cllr. Paegar emphasized.

Prior to Cllr. Paegar’s assertion, Cllr. Koffa while being interviewed by Frontpage Africa newspaper said, “Our intent is to negotiate with the court to allow the public both locally and internationally to watch the trial in real time to ensure transparent justice during the course of the trial.”

“This is part of transparent justice. The jury will be aware that the public is watching them and the international community also will be watching it live, while the trial is going on,” Cllr. Koffa assured.

He added “We will be able to go to the taskforce’s website and watch the trial on national television.”

However, under the law, and many local rules of court prohibit the photographing, broadcasting or televising of court proceedings.

The rules against televising and photographing were adopted, and are almost universally accepted, as a guide to judges in their endeavor to assure every person of his right to fair trial, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe told the Observer via mobile phone.

“Even, if there were to be the televising of a case, that needs to meet the parties’ and judge’s agreement,” Cllr. Gongloe indicated.

According to him, the opposing party has the legal right to object to the proposal.

“Except as permitted by the individual judge, the use of cameras, television or other recording or broadcasting equipment is prohibited in a courtroom or in the immediate vicinity of a courtroom,” Gongloe emphasized, adding, “They have to obtain permission from the judge before making that public announcement.”

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