13 February 2013

Liberia: Former Special Court Investigator Sentenced

Prince Taylor, a former Defence investigator at the Special Court, must serve a total of 2-1/2 years on his conviction of interfering with Prosecution witnesses, Justice Teresa Doherty ruled.

Prince Taylor was convicted on 25 January 2013 on five counts of contempt of court. The first four counts alleged he had "otherwise interfered" with witnesses who had testified against former Liberian President Charles Taylor in The Hague. The Court found that Prince Taylor, through former RUF member Eric Koi Senessie, attempted to induce four witnesses to recant their testimony. The fifth count alleged that Prince Taylor had interfered with Eric Koi Senessie at a time when he was a potential witness in contempt proceedings before the Chamber.

Prince Taylor was sentenced to two years on each of the four counts of interfering with witnesses who had testified in the Charles Taylor trial, and 2-1/2 years for interfering with Eric Koi Senessie. The terms will run concurrently, meaning that he will serve a total of 2-1/2 years from October 2012, when he was taken into custody. Under the Rules, he could have faced a maximum penalty of seven years in prison, a fine of two million leones, or both.

In imposing the sentence, Justice Doherty referred to a number of aggravating factors, but also noted 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.

Under the Special Court's Rules, both the Prosecution and the Defence have the right to appeal.

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