Charges dropped, victim admonishes him not to sin anymore
After two of Esther Glain’s witnesses refused to attend her trial against former Executive Protection Service (EPS) Director for Operations, Darlington George, who she accused of brutalizing her, it was enough yesterday for Judge Peter Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court ‘B’ to drop the charges, declaring George a free man.
The incident occurred on September 13, 2015, in the Barnersville area, outside Monrovia, following which George and his co-defendant James Togba were charged with aggravated assault and criminal facilitation.
Yesterday’s decision by Judge Gbeneweleh was as a result of prosecution’s request to enter a plea of “Nolle Prosequi” in favor of George and Togba declining to further prosecute the matter on grounds that additional witnesses were nowhere to be found, although the alleged victim, Glain, had already testified.
“Nolle Prosequi” implies, “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 a trial. The statement is an admission that the charges cannot be proven, that evidence has demonstrated either innocence or a fatal flaw in the prosecution’s claim, or the district attorney has become convinced the accused is innocent.
“I want to make one thing clear – that I did not receive a dime of money from anybody for this case, neither did somebody ask me to go and get money from somewhere. I never got a dime from this case so people should please carry the rightful statement or message from me,” Esther Glain said. Responding to a question from one of her lawyers, Glain said, “I say thanks to the Almighty God for keeping me alive to this day. I would like to say that I am no more interested in the case.” Expanding on her statement, Glain explained that “my witnesses are no more around. I have to move on with my life, and I know that Darlington George and James Togba wronged me, but I’m saying in this court: that I give it all to God and I say to them to go and sin no more.”
In his ruling, Gbeneweleh said, “The motion to dismiss the indictment, to which the defense team interposed no objection, is hereby dismissed without prejudice to the state. This court will return to the defendants their valid criminal appearance bond filed and subsequently approved without any delay.”
Before yesterday’s decision, the prosecution in 2016 filed a “Writ of Certiorari” to the Supreme Court against then Resident Judge Korboi K. Nuta, who was handling the matter. A “Writ of Certiorari” is a writ or order by which a higher court reviews a decision of a lower court. “Prosecution said that as the trial stands, it no longer has faith in Judge Nuta’s gavel as he has worn the jersey of the defense,” prosecuting lawyers said. In their ten-point petition, the lawyers outlined Judge Nuta’s denial of their request for a jury trial, a denial of their January 24 motion for his recusal and his refusal to mandate the clerk of court to record the exception, coupled with his response, and to address the objection while hearing the case.
They also highlighted Judge Nuta’s denial of their January 24 motion for his recusal and also their mandate for him to recuse himself from further sitting or hearing the case, and for it to be overruled. That request was accepted and Chief Justice Francis Korkpor reassigned Nuta to the 15th Judicial Circuit Court, in River Gee County.
It may be recalled that former EPS deputy boss George and his subordinate Tamba were on September 16 dismissed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and ordered to turn themselves over to the Ministry of Justice for questioning for allegedly assaulting and wounding a woman in Barnersville Estate. George was charged with criminal facilitation while co-defendant Tamba was charged with aggravated assault, a felony of the second degree.
The case was initially filed at the Barnersville Magisterial Court but was transferred to Criminal Court “A” at the Temple of Justice due to the Magisterial Court’s lack of jurisdiction over the case