17 August 2012

Liberia: UNMIL Journalist Risks Imprisonment

Monrovia City Court Judge Nelson B. Chineh reserved verdict for a later date in the U$15,000 theft of property case against UNMIL radio announcer Sharon Vincent Avorkliya after state lawyers challenged her criminal appearance bond.

State lawyers argued that the criminal appearance bond for the defendant is "defective" and wanted her detained at the Monrovia Central Prison in the absence of a valid bond.

State prosecutors produced several pieces of evidence in court, including the deed of a parcel of land in order to prove their case against Mrs. Sharon Vincent Avorkliya.

Earlier in their motion, defense lawyers argued for dismissal of the case against their client, saying though she received said amount from Mr. Joseph Robert Mensah, the crime 'theft of property' was the wrong charge in this case.

"We are not denying that our client is not owing Mr. Mensah this amount in question. Our problem here is the charge levied against her when both parties have agreed on how to pay the money," the lead defense lawyer noted.

But Judge Chineh denied defense lawyers' motion for dismissal of the case, and reserved ruling for a later date upon assignment.

Several journalists and her UMNIL colleagues jam-packed the courtroom Thursday to witness the trial of one of their kind.

UNMIL Radio announcer Sharon Vincent Avorkliya was arrested on Friday for U$15,000 theft, in violation of Section 15.51 of the criminal law of Liberia, according to the writ of arrest.

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