State prosecutors' desire to establish a case against 41 Liberians accused of multiple offenses in Nimba County Tuesday entered a crucial stage after defendants shifted the burden on government lawyers with a plea of not guilty at the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County.
Minutes after the four-page indictment was read to them, the defendants responded by resounding denial of all the charges levied against them.
On July 2014, they were accused of vandalizing ArcelorMittal facilities in Nimba County. They are accused of armed robbery and kidnapping, theft of property and illegal possession of fire arms.
Prior to Tuesday proceeding, state prosecutors succeeded in transferring the trial from Nimba to Grand Bassa County because of fear of public sentiment.
The court ruled that it was the right of any of the parties to request for change of venue as provided by law.
Defense lawyers interposes no objection and hopes as they saw that the state’s ion was in good fate.
On July 3, 2014, the Magisterial Court in Nimba County arrested the 41 Liberians and charged them for multiple offenses.
Their charges range from armed robbery and kidnapping to theft of property and illegal possession of fire arms.
Already, government have released seven of the indicted rioters from Nimba County after they admitted and promised to cooperate with them.
Solicitor General Cllr. Betty Lamin-Blamo confirmed the release seven out of the 41 defendants.
Section 18.1 of the criminal proceeded law give the state prosecutors the right to restore freedom on any accused without prejudice.
She dispelled defense lawyers’ allegations that government was after the people of Nimba County.
"Government cares and is concerned about its people and are not going after people from Nimba County.
"The level of destruction that took place at ArcelorMittal facilities in Nimba County has the propensity to scare investors from coming to our Liberia. “We have to prove to the rest of the world that this is a country of law and not of men," the Solicitor General stressed.