Drama unfolded at the murder trial of Michel Bruno, a Belgian national, at the Criminal Court ‘A’ when a prosecution witness became temporarily confused.
Moses H. Kermue, prosecution’s third witness stood speechless in the box for a few minutes before denying having knowledge that the defendants shot Bruno, then Plantation Manager of Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC).
Kermue is a senior officer of LAC’s Plant Protection Division (PPD).
He was the only person cross examined by defense counsel.
The defendants are charged with murder for allegedly shooting and killing Bruno on November 17, 2010 at LAC’s 3.3 extension site in District #3 Grand Bassa County. They have since denied the allegation levied against them.
Testifying on Tuesday, April 8, the third witness caused a stir when he consistently asserted that he did not know whether the defendants murdered Bruno, alleging he heard the information from reliable sources in the employ of LAC. His vehement denials, even under questioning by his own lawyer, raised eyebrows.
Witness Kermue could not disclose the name of his reliable sources.
He refused a suggestion from prosecution lawyers, who asked him to point at the defendants in the box that were arrested in connection to Bruno’s death.
“As I said previously, on November 17, 2010, I was not on the scene, and I can’t identify any of the defendants in the box who were arrested in connection with the murder of Bruno.”
To the question as to whether he was aware that the defendants upon their arrest were investigated at the PPD’s headquarters in LAC, Kermue answered: “I was not there when they (defendants) were investigated at the headquarters. What I can say is I only heard that information, but I have no knowledge about it.”
Earlier, Kermue explained that the day before Bruno was shot and killed, the chief of PPD, Major Garfe E. Mason, drove to his house and took him to LAC’s extension site to protect the company’s workers that had gone there to survey the land.
“When we got there, we saw the surveying team headed by the late Bruno along with Alexander Peterson, Price Tawo, Matthew Daigar, Saye Yeasie and two PPD officers and we all moved to the bush together,” he added, “When we got into the bush the Surveyor began to clear the road and they started to plant their pegs.”
According to him, while the survey was in process, they saw a group of men under the control of one of the defendants, Arthur Crusoe.
“Crusoe asked us where we were coming from and we answered that we are from LAC Plantation. Crusoe then told us that he learnt LAC was about to conduct a survey in the district. He said this was the reason, we have declared this day as a holiday in our area. LAC has been fooling us this time around, LAC is not going to fool us. In fact, I am going to let the government to know about this,” witness Kermue quoted defendant Crusoe as saying.
“It was at this time,” the witness alleged “that a lady I couldn’t recognize in the group turned to one of the surveyors, the late James Myers, and said, “James, I know you very well, don’t be part of these people again.”
“After that statement, we immediately left the area,” the prosecution witness further alleged.
In an hour-long cross-examination, which was not different from the questions and suggestions posed to previous prosecution witnesses, Kermue’s response to most of them were negative. The prosecution declined to continue with his examination.
The case continues.