key prosecution’s documentary evidence the police investigation report heavily relied upon to bring criminal charges against former Executive Protection Service (EPS), deputy director of operation, Darlington George was yesterday rejected by Criminal Court ‘B’ at the Temple of Justice.
Judge Karboi Nuta’s decision stemmed from Cllr. Sunifu S. Sheriff, a state lawyer’s confession about their failure to make that evidence available to the defense team, even after the court subpoenaed (ordered) them (state lawyers) to do so.
The case has been going on since 2016 with prosecution producing four witnesses, including the victim Esther Glain, without releasing series of documentary evidence to the defense team.
It was not clear why the prosecution chose to withhold that particular evidence from the defense team.
George and co-defendant James Tamba, assigned with Vice President Joseph N. Boakai were charged with aggravated and simple assault and criminal facilitation in connection with the alleged brutality against a lady, identified as Esther Glain in Barnesville estate area in 2015.
The dramatic event occurred yesterday while Sheriffs attempted to take the police investigation report, among other documentary evidence, to the court for their endorsement.
It was at that movement that defense lawyer Jonathan T. Massaqoui asked for permission to allow him to have a final look at the prosecution’s evidence.
At that stage, Massaqoui discovered the police investigation sheet among the documents and asked the court not to include it among the other evidences.
Massaqoui raised the issue and argued that allowing the evidence was prejudicial, because the prosecution has failed to furnish them with that document.
Based on that contention, Judge Nuta temporarily stopped the case and subsequently inquired from Sheriffs as to whether or not they have submitted that document to the defense team, which was answered in the negative.
The response prompted the judge to reject the evidence, despite prosecution’s plea for two hours to produce the document to Massaqoui which was also denied.
Defending his action, Nuta said, on December 16, last year, the court ordered the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to make all pieces of evidence in their possession, including the investigative report, to the defense team, which they refused to comply.
“Their action is clearly a violation of the court’s order and they were proceeding wrongly in accordance to a criminal proceeding of which they should have furnished every piece of evidence they had gathered to the defense team before the trial,” the criminal court judge explained.
“Therefore,” Judge Nuta declared, “prosecution’s plea for two hours to make available the evidence to the defense team is denied.”