The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved ruling into the case involving 13 Liberians who were earlier convicted for subversive activities in Cote d'Ivore by Criminal Court 'D' at the Temple of Justice. The High Court could not hand down ruling despite hours of legal arguments between prosecutions and defend lawyers.
The legal team for the convicted men is being headed by Human Rights lawyer and former Solicitor General Cllr. Tiawon S. Gongole.
He argued that his clients were unlawfully convicted of the charges by the lower court, noting that in keeping the Liberian jurisprudence, the court lacks the jurisdiction to hear such high profile case.
He further argued that prosecution lawyers failed to properly investigate his clients before charging them of the crime of subversive activities, adding that state lawyers relied on the jurors to do what he called the "dirty work".
"State lawyers’ witnesses’ testimonies were unbalanced during the trial."Your honors the released of five of the defendants at the onset of the trial, clearly showed that the state had no case to prove, but wanted you (jurors) to accomplish their mission," Cllr. Gongole argued.
He therefore asked the court to set aside the verdict of the lower court and release the convicts from further detention as provided by law.
For his part, the prosecution argued that it has provided sufficient evidence to prove that the men were involved in mercenarism. The prosecution added that its evidence adduced in court were overwhelming, noting that it was backed witnesses’ testimonies in addition to documentary evidence.
"Our facts against the convicts were overwhelming because we brought some insiders witnesses and Ivorian officers, as well as arms that they (convicts) used during their operations," the prosecution said.
On June 17, 2014 Criminal Court 'D' sentenced 13 Liberians to life imprisonment after the trial jurors came down with unanimous guilty verdict.
Those sentenced for include Nezee Barway, Oforee Diah, Edward Cole, Bobby Sarpee, Isaac Taryon, Prince Youtay and Mohammed Massaquoi, James Cooper, Sam Tarley, and Morris Cole among others.
The 13 convicts were part of 18 Liberians arrested and indicted in 2011/ 2012 on multiple offenses ranging from mercenarism, murder, rape, arson to theft of property.
Their six pages indictment said that since the pose elections violence broke up in December of 2010 in Cote d'Ivore that led to the arrest of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, the Liberians joined some Ivorians to cause trouble in that West African state which resulted in the death of several persons including seven UN Peacekeepers.