By: H. Richard Fallah
MONROVIA: The Supreme Court of Liberia, through its Justice in Chamber, Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie, has ordered Criminal Court “C,” at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, to conduct a comprehensive investigation, bordering on claims that the Jury Panel sequestered in the Gloria Musu Scott and others’ murder trial has been tempered with allegedly by the Solicitor General of Liberia, Cllr. Nyenati Tuan.
Gloria Musu Scott, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, and three of her family members are being prosecuted by the Liberian government, through the Ministry of Justice on murder and other charges in connection to the gruesome killing of Charloe Musu, daughter of the former Chief Justice, at their Brewersville residence, outside Monrovia.
Associate Justice Wolokolie granted a petition by the Legal Team of the accused for full scale probe of claims that Solicitor General Tuan, who is the Chief Prosecutor of Liberia had tempered with the sequestered Jurors.
The Court’s decision was triggered by a writ of Certiorari filed to the Justice in Chamber by lawyers representing the legal interest of the former Chief Justice.
In her previous stay order, Justice Wolokollie cited Criminal Court “C” Judge, Roosevelt Willie, the Ministry of Justice, and Defense Lawyers to a conference on Monday, September 25, 2023, in connection with the case.
Justice Wolokollie also ordered that the probe should be carried publicly with the participation of all parties in the murder case.
On Wednesday September 20, 2023, Defense Lawyers prayed the High Court to review and reverse a recent ruling handed down by Judge Roosevelt Z Willie; who suspended the Solicitor General on allegation of jurors’ tampering.
The Defense Lawyer’s action comes after Solicitor General Tuan, allegedly force his way into the Jury Quarters at the Temple of Justice at about 9:30 pm.
The Writ of Certiorari filed to the Justice in Chamber by the defense lawyer, highlighted a revision and correction of the ruling which they termed as erroneous by the Judge, indicating that the judge should have suspended the trial and conduct a full-scale investigation on the allegation, in order to ascertain the extent of Solicitor General`s visit to the Jury Quarters at the Temple of Justice.
Defense noted that on September 13, 2023, the Solicitor General (Cllr Nyenti Tuan) drove to the Temple of Justice at about 9:30 p.m. and ordered Judicial Security in person of Marcus Cleon to give him access to the premises of the Temple of Justice but Security Cleon refused.
“Following the refusal of the officers, Cllr Tuan forcefully made his way in, thus engaging with officers assigned with the sequestered jurors,” the Defense alleged.
Defense further told the court that the chief prosecutor, Cllr. Nyenti Tuan, forcefully gained entry to the compound and proceeded to the trial jurors that have been sworn and sequestrated under the basement of the Temple of Justice and held discussions, and even extended financial consideration to them with hopes of jurors’ returning verdict in favor of the Government of Liberia/Plaintiff in these proceedings.
According to the defense team, the Judge should have conducted a full-scale investigation with all the parties involved including, the jurors, security, police officers and all who interacted with the Solicitor General.
The defense team informed the Justice in chamber that the Judge only suspended the Solicitor General; fined him US$250 and dismissed LNP officers without further investigation.
On Monday September 18, Criminal Court “A” Judge suspended the Solicitor General of Liberia Nyenati Tuan from further representing the government in the trial proceedings of the former Chief Justice and her family members accused of murder among other crimes.
According to the Judiciary Security Officers account, the Solicitor General, Cllr. Nyanti Tuan entered the Temple of Justice premises at 8:00 p.m. and held conversation with the Police officer assigned at the Jury Quarter but did not interact or interfere with any of the jurors.
In his response to the allegation, Cllr. Tuan admitted to the Court that he visited the premises of the Temple of Justice at 5:30 and met with the Judicial Security Services assigned at the gate of the Temple of Justice building where two of securities escorted him to see his officers assigned at the Jury Quarter, but did not interact or interfere with any of the jurors.
He further told the court that his reason for going to the Temple of Justice was to advise his officers to be vigilant and careful in the performance of their duty at the Jury Quarter because he did not want to experience the same situation that occurred with the US$100 Million illicit drugs case that was held at Criminal Court ‘C’ wherein the government lost that case.
The Solicitor General further stated that they got information concerning the trial jurors who were sequestered during the US$100million dollars drug case which was not favorable for the government and the Trial Jurors who were sequestered brought down a not guilty verdict in favor of the defendants.
After the admission of the Solicitor General relative to his visit to the premises of the Temple of Justice without any notice to the Court, along with police officers, the court ruled that Cllr. Nyanati Tuan be suspended from further taking part in the trial as one of the government lawyers. The Court also fined him US$2500 to be paid in the Judiciary’s Account within 72 hours or three days, effective as of the date of the ruling.
The Court further ruled that the officers including Amos Korkollie, Titus Massah, Webster J. Paye and Lassana Liazolu with whom the Solicitor General interacted, are hereby expelled from further forming part of the security team currently assigned at the Jury Quarter.
Judge Willie, at the same time ordered the Clerk to write the Inspector General (1G) of Liberia National Police Col. Patrick Sudue to forward the names of four new (different) police officers through the court.
In June 2023, the former Chief Justice along with three other family members were charged and sent to court on charges of Murder, Criminal Conspiracy, and False Testimony to Law Enforcement officers, relating to the killing of the late Charloe Musu.