A judge of the Special Court for Sierra Leone has sentenced Prince Taylor, an investigator for former Liberian President Charles Taylor, to two and the half years in jail after convicting him on five counts of contempt of court.
Prince Taylor was convicted by Justice Teresa Doherty on January 25, 2013, and his sentence was announced on February 8.
Prince Taylor was charged and convicted for interfering with witnesses who testified against Charles Taylor by attempting to induce them to recant their testimony against the former Liberian President. Prince Taylor, according to the court, attempted to do this through Eric Koi Senessie, a former member of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the rebel group which Charles Taylor himself was convicted for providing support to.
On April 26, 2012, Special Court judges found Charles Taylor guilty of aiding and abetting the commission of serious crimes by RUF rebels in Sierra Leone and helping to plan some of the rebel attacks in various locations throughout the country, including the capital Freetown. He was subsequently sentenced to a jail term of 50 years. The former Liberian president has since appealed his conviction and sentence. An appeals judgment is expected before the end of 2013.
In a press release issued by the Special Court, the court noted that its rules provide for Prince Taylor to be sentenced to a maximum term of seven years or a fine of two million Leones (Sierra Leonean currency) or both sentence and fine. The judge, however, considered several mitigating factors including "Prince Taylor's previous good record, his service to justice during his seven years as a Special Court investigator, and his father's plea on his behalf at Thursday's sentencing hearing."
Prince Taylor previously served as an investigator in the case against leaders of the Civil Defense Forces at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.