The Judge presiding over the armed robbery case involving journalist Darlington Pelenah and two others has warned lawyers representing the three suspected armed robbers to avoid what he called political statements in the ongoing trial.
Judge James W. Zota stressed that political statements will not be entertained in the entire trial, adding that all actions and statements from defense and prosecuting lawyers must be guided by the ethnic of the law profession and in line with the criminal procedure law.
His warning came on the margins of a statement made by the lead defense lawyer Dempster Brown who accused the Government of Liberia of stage-managing the crime of armed robbery against defendant Darlington Pelenah.
Meanwhile, lead defense lawyer Dempster Brown has accused state lawyers of introducing delay tactics for their failure to bring to court defendants Darlington Pelenah, Benjamin Bookie Gbar and William P. Randolph in line with the rule of court.
Defense lawyer Brown argued that the Criminal Procedure Law allows defendants to be present in court and the failure of prosecuting lawyers which represent the Government of Liberia is a total violation of his clients' constitutional rights.
Cllr. Brown argued in his submission before court that since the prosecution failed to bring to court the three suspected armed robbers, it was legally prudent that presiding Judge Zotaa carryout the selection of empanelled jurors for the trial.
But Judge Zota was quick to deny submission made by defense lead lawyer Brown on ground that failure of the defendants to select an empanelled jurors is a total violation of the statue, stating that the statue requires that the presence of the accused as a condition for trial in serious offense as armed robbery.
Judge Zota added that it was upon plea of the defendants that the court will empanel a jury which according to him (Judge), plea of 'not guilty' will be made by the defendants.
Judge Zota then ordered the prosecution to inform authority at the Monrovia Central Prison to bring the defendants to court on Wednesday September 19, 2012 at the hour of 10: am enable the court conduct trial in the case.
He at the same time called on the court for the speedy trial of the alleged armed robbers, disclosing that said call by a defense lawyer is the first of its kind in the history of the country's Justice System.