18 Gedeans Trial: Judge Jails Juror, Defendants Fate In Limbo

18 Gedeans Trial: Judge Jails Juror, Defendants Fate In Limbo

Judge Yusuf D. Kaba of Criminal Court "D" at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Liberia has granted Government prosecutors’ request demanding for the incarceration of juror Jeremy Nuevelle, who raised alarm recently of prosecution’s jury tempting attempt.

The prosecution informed the Court that juror Nuevelle was using two names for one case. According the prosecution, Jeremy had earlier registered at the Criminal Court "A" under a different name, as Jeremy Gaye.

Partial view of the 18 Grand Gedeans on trial

The Heritage newspaper reported that Judge Kaba, on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, sentenced a juror to 15 days in prison.

Juror Alvin Cole was sentenced for what the court called deceptive conduct. Judge Kaba's decision to sentence Juror Cole came on the heels of an argument raised by the prosecution in the ongoing 19 Grand Gedeans case that some of the jurors were not qualified to participate in the case.

In their argument, the prosecution team pointed out that Juror Cole has two different identities as per document of the list of jurors in their possession.

According to a document presented by the prosecution lawyers, Juror Cole presented an identity of Victor Carr in 2012, and that he was amongst several jurors selected during that year.

Under the Liberian Law, there must be a year interval in serving as a juror. The prosecution asked the court to take judicial notice of the "false" identity provided by Juror Cole.

And upon taking judicial notice of the information provided by the prosecution lawyers, Judge Kaba in turn discovered that indeed, the information provided by Juror Cole was fake, and so, he was sentenced to jail for 15 days. On the other hand, the defense lawyers through the vetting process also disqualified some jurors and accepted at least four jurors.

Some of the Jurors were disqualified because they lied that they were not in school, and that their names were not sent by the proper authority.

The disqualified jurors are: Frederick Weah, Winnie Harris, Caroline Fatomah, Dorothy Mahn, Leda Allison, Caroline Nyenpan and Henry Williams. It could be recalled that in 2012, the Government of Liberia (GoL) indicted 19 Grand Gedeans on multiple offenses which range from mercenary, murder, rape, arson and theft of property.

The six-page indictment said since the post elections violence broke up in Ivory Coast in 2010 which led to the arrest of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, the defendants allegedly joined other Ivorians to cause havoc in that country. But the indicted Grand Gedeans have denied the charges levied against them.

 The case is therefore set for retrial for time indefinite, while the hopes of the 18 grand-gedians remain in limbo.

Legal connoisseurs say the Judge’s indefinite suspension of the trial impedes speedy trial and violates the rights of the defendants to speedy justice.