Monday denied defense lawyers' application for preliminary hearings into the case involving ex-LURD 'general' Oforie Diah and Mr. Alfred Bobby James, believed to be son of the late Charles Julu, on grounds that the case was above the jurisdiction of the Magisterial Court.
He said the case needed to be transferred to Criminal Court 'A' for indictment since the grand jury was sitting in its November Term of Court.
The defendants were initially charged with criminal facilitation and para-military activities, but the state amended the charge against them
to rape, murder, theft of property and looting for their involvement in the war in Cote d'Ivoire.
Chineh: "Having listened to the defense lawyers' request to court for preliminary hearing in line with Chapter 12, Section 2 of the Criminal procedure law and its correspondent resistant, it is observed that these defendants are charged with multiple-offenses that include rape, murder and theft of property. With such charges it was beyond the jurisdiction of this Magisterial Court."
According to the judge, multiple charges cannot be heard by the Magisterial Court, much more a preliminary hearing since the grand jury of Monsterrado Country is sitting during the November Term of Court.
"Therefore, defense lawyers' application are hereby denied," Judge Chineh said, and ordered the clerk of court to transfer the case to Criminal Court 'A' to enable indictment for the defendants.
But defense lawyers Arthur Johnson and Swaliho Sesay took exception to Judge Chineh's ruling, and decided to take advantage of the law.
Police arrested Mr. Oforie Diah and Mr. Alfred Bobby on 20 October 2012 following a tipoff about their involvement in the Ivorian war.