The Supreme Court yesterday gave state lawyers a 72-hour ultimatum to pay US$300 as a fine for their failure to file their brief (short synopsis) on Matilda Parker’s case to the court.
That brief was expected to set the basis for the court’s five judges to decide whether or not they should accept to review the early decision of one of the judges, presiding Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie.
The request for the review of Justice Wolokollie’s decision was filed to the other justices by lawyers representing defendants Matilda Parker, former National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director and her Comptroller Christiana Kpabar Paelay, who are being tried for multiple crimes, including economic sabotage.
They were said to have diverted over US$800,000 from the public entity while serving in their respective capacities.
The defense counsels’ action came immediately after Justice Wolokollie suspended further hearing of the trial based on a complaint filed by prosecutors asking the court to mandate then Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Blamo Dixon to deliver his ruling in a jury tampering investigation for review.
It was Wolokollie’s suspension of her decision that prompted the defense team to run to the court for a review of her action, which the legal instrument the prosecutors failed to submit for hearing yesterday.
Although the case did go on as planned, there was no date set by the justices for further hearing of the matter.
Judge Dixon in early 2016, while handling an allegation of tampering brought on by the prosecution, refused to disband the sequestrated jury, but chose to only drop three of the 15 members of the panel.
Despite the prosecution’s contention for him to disband the entire panel, because they were reportedly behind the plot to collect money from Parker to influence the outcome of the trial, Dixon only managed to drop the three jurors. Based on the complaint, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor sacked the cook of the panel, Madam Janneh Kamara, on grounds that her son was one of the jurors, after she had initially denied having any connection or relationship with any of them.
Besides Kamara, Justice Korkpor suspended the Assistant Manager of the Jury Management Team, Wisdom Fayiah.
He also suspended two bailiffs, Bendu Dukuly and Roland Nyankun, who were charged with the responsibility of caring for the panel.