Former Chief Justice Scott, Others Jailed on Murder, Criminal Conspiracy Charges
MONROVIA – Former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott, along with three other suspects – all women, are currently spending the night at the Monrovia Central Prison after they were arrested by the Liberia National Police and sent to court on allegation of murder, criminal conspiracy and false reports to law enforcement officials in connection to the death of Charloe Musu.
The latest episode comes after a verbal charge was announced on Tuesday, and the former Chief Justice, along with her three relatives, was arrested and detained at the police headquarters for a night.
Lawyers representing her legal interest filed a writ of Habeas corpus at Criminal Court “C” which was granted by the court.
Speaking after the ruling, the Special Assistant to the Solicitor General of Liberia, Lafayette Gould admitted that the state had, at that time, not given any charges.
But on Thursday June 22, the police delivered the charges, reminded them of their Miranda rights, and forwarded them to the Monrovia City Court.
During the argument, the defense counsel urged the court to grant the defendants bail, relying on Article 21 h and Chapter 13.1 of the criminal procedure law, where they noted that based on the gravity of the alleged crimes, the former Chief Justice and others should have been indicted by the Grand Jury of the Republic of Liberia.
Article 21 (h) states,” No person shall be held to answer for a capital or infamous crime except in cases of impeachment, cases arising in the Armed Forces and petty offenses, unless upon indictment by Grand Jury; and in all such cases, the accused shall have the right to a speedy, public and impartial trial by a jury of the vicinity, unless such person shall, with appropriate understanding, expressly waive the right to a jury trial…”
Chapter 13. 1 Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia states: “A person in custody for the commission of a capital offense shall, before conviction, be entitled as of right to be admitted to bail unless the proof is evident or the presumption great that he is guilty of the offense… After indictment for such an offense, the burden is on the defendant to show that the proof is not evident or the presumption not great. After conviction for a capital offense, no person shall be continued at large on bail or be admitted to bail except in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 3 of this section.”
According to them, the crime is grave and the evidence is not proven, and as such, the defendants should be released to them.
Prosecution requested the court to deny and dismiss the motion due to the gravity of the crimes which is a capital offense that does not warrant a bail.
“All accused persons shall be billable unless charged with capital offenses,” they said.
After the arguments, Magistrate Barco told both parties to return on Friday, June 23 for the ruling.
“Court says it has listened to the application of the defendants to grant them bail bond, and the resistance of the prosecution. The court says that it needs time to understand the matter,” Magistrate Barco said.
With the ruling, Justice Gloria Musu-Scott, Rebecca Youdeh Wisner, Gertrude Newton and Alice Johnson were taken to the Monrovia Central Prison, known as South Beach and incarcerated to be taken back to the court on Friday.