In Gloria Musu Scott’s Case: Prosecution Requests Change Of Venue For Trial
Prosecution lawyers in the case Republic of Liberia versus Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott et al have requested for the change of venue for the trial of the case from Criminal Court “A” to another jurisdiction outside of Montserrado County.
According to the prosecution, since the gruesome murder of Charloe Musu on February 22, 2023 the case has been discussed widely, publicly and critically within Montserrado County, to the extent that almost every media outlet, print or electronic, has been discussing the merits of the case, which is yet to be tried; as such, there is reason to believe that an impartial trial cannot be had within the jurisdiction (Montserrado County) where the aforesaid prosecution is pending.
They argued that if the case is heard within Montserrado County there is the likelihood of local prejudice, public sentiments and insecurity inter alia, which could have an adverse effect on the trial proceedings, evidenced by the conspicuous public sentiments, visa-vis the constant discussion of the case on radio stations.
“For your Honor’s kind perusal, attached and marked as EXHIBITS M/1 to M/5 are front page headlines of the Charloe Musu’s pending murder case captioned in the Daily Observer, Front Page, New Dawn and Inquirer newspapers, among others, which show scores of people in the courtyard between the intervening period: June 20—23, 2023 and including July 4, 2023 when the respondents/defendants appeared at Criminal Court ‘C’, Monrovia City Court, and Criminal Court ‘A’, respectively,” the prosecution’s motion read.
According to the prosecution, their application or submission for change of place of prosecution is in line with Chapter 5, Sub-Section 5.7 of the Criminal Procedure Law, and the Statutory Laws of the aforesaid Republic.
The prosecution lawyers pointed out that during the pre-trial intervening periods, and the three different times the defendants appeared on the ground of the Temple of Justice, groups of people with mixed reactions, overwhelmed, singing, chanting slogans, dancing, etc., with the anxiety of desperation, were often seen in the courtyard discussing the aforesaid case and at the same time awaiting the outcomes of the proceedings, a situation which poses threat and uncertainty for all the parties in the aforesaid matter.
However, the court is yet to make a determination on the prosecution’s request.
It can be recalled that Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, Gertrude Newton, Rebecca Youdeh Wisner and Alice Johnson were arrested, investigated and charged by the Crime Service Department (CSD) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) for the commission of murder, criminal conspiracy and making false statement to law enforcement officials.
Consistent with Chapter 15, Sub-Section 15.5 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia, the Special Grand Jury for Montserrado County, upon their oath and after careful deliberation, found, established and indicted the defendants for the commission of the crimes.
Since then, Cllr. Scott and the rest of the defendants have been held at the Monrovia South Beach Prison, awaiting trial, which is expected to begin during the October term of court.