The government narrative of Super FM Photojournalist Tyron Brown’s death has gotten more complicated with two of the three being tried at Criminal Court ‘A’ stand the chance of being freed due to alleged discrepancies discovered by their lawyer, Jonathan T. Massaquoi, in the state indictment (charges).
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 16, opened argument to establish whether the Chamber Justice at the time, Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, was on the right side of the law to have asked Judge Roosevelt Willie to dismiss the case against Alice Youti and Edwina Youti, and subsequently transferred the matter to the Magisterial Court over the discrepancies claim brought by Cllr. Massaquoi against the government.
Due to the intense pressure, Judge Willie reserved ruling into the matter, but Associate Justice Yuoh recused (step-down) herself from hearing the matter on grounds that the appeal originated out of her judgment.
The government initially charged the Youti sisters with hindering law enforcement investigation, which crime, according to Cllr. Massaquoi, argument squarely falls within the jurisdiction of the Magisterial Court and not the Criminal Court ‘A.’
Besides, the government also charged defendant Williams with murder, of which they anticipated to have tried all of the accused — the Youti sisters and Williams jointly — which Justice Yuoh said was wronged under the law.
Journalist Brown was murdered on the night of April 15, 2018, in the Duport Road Community, Paynesville, along the Kingdom Care Road, the claim Williams did not deny when he was first arraigned before Judge Roosevelt Willie.
Brown had gone to Williams’ house in an attempt to visit one of his nieces, who was not identified, when defendant victim was stabbed to death by Williams, which prosecution claimed was witnessed by Alice Youti and Edwina Youti.
Jonathan Williams was charged with murder, while Alice Youti and Edwina Youti were also charged with hindering law enforcement in connection with Journalist Browne’s death.
Before Yuoh’s judgment, Judge Willie had earlier denied Massaquoi’s argument, which decision was later reversed by Yuoh, based on Cllr. Massaquoi’s complaint to the chamber justice.
Justice Yuoh’s judgment did not go down well with the prosecution, who later appealed against it to the Full Bench, resulting to Tuesday’s arguments.
Massaquoi’s contention was that, under the law the crime of hindering law enforcement cannot be tried with a murder suspect, thereby requesting that Judge Willie allow his clients (Alice and Edwina) to be separately tired from Williams who is charged with murder.
Massaquoi’s argument was that hindering law enforcement was exclusively a case belonging to the Magisterial Court and not any other courts, because that crime was a minor offense.
“Murder is an indictable offense, as such, it cannot be tired along with a non-indictable offence like hindering law enforcement,” Massaquoi further defense his argument.
In counter argument, Montserrado County Attorney, Edwin Martins, said the defendants, Alice, Edwina and Williams must be tired together for the same offense of murder, although he agreed that Alice and Edwina were charged with hindering law enforcement, which exclusively falls within the jurisdiction of the Magisterial Court.
“Alice and Edwina concealed information and they had knowledge about the crime that was committed by William, but did not expedite the police arrest of William immediately,” Cllr. Martins noted, adding, “So they cannot be separately tried at the Magisterial Court, because they provided assistance to William’s act.”
But, Massaquoi argued that Alice and Edwina did not report the matter immediately was because they were afraid, even though they were living with William, who is their uncle, in the same house when Brown was killed by William.
He reiterated that because the crime ‘hindering law enforcement’ was not an indictable offense, they cannot be tired with murder.
But the Martins’ explanation was on Tuesday met with extreme skepticism, including the one from some senior lawyers, who were overheard saying that the government was in error to have charged Alice and Edwina with hindering law enforcement; a lesser crime for such a case.
Several other lawyers outside of the Supreme Court called into question Martins’ version of the events.