Liberia: Two Set Free From Murder Charge

Two persons who were held in detention for alleged murder have been set free in Gbarnga, Bong County, following one year six months in custody.

Suspects Sackie Giddings and Junior Sackie walked out from pretrial detention on Thursday, 20 June with smiles on their faces when jurors at the 9th Judicial Circuit Court set them free in the County.

The suspects were accused of having connection to the death of the late Franklin Binda in Doweta, Sanoyea District, Bong County, an allegation they denied.

The incident occurred in December 2017 in Doweta town, following which the two suspects were arrested and charged with murder by officers of the Bong County Liberia National Police Detachment and forwarded to court for trial.

Relatives and friends of the released suspects were very happy when the presiding Judge at the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court Cllr. James N. Gilayeneh announced the release of the suspects based on a unanimous jury verdict which found the defendants innocent.

Judge Gilayeneh set defendants Giddings and Sackie free when he ruled on a count filed by jurors, requesting the court to set the two detainees free.

The Court's decision came following hours of closed-door deliberations by jurors on the evidence produced by both the defense and prosecuting lawyers.

According to the 12 member jury, the deliberate failure of state prosecutors to adjudicate the case based on facts and evidence led to the action to have set free the two individuals.

The Judge notes that under the Liberian law, "a person can be convicted if there is sufficient evidence produced during a trial."

In the instant case, the Judge observes that prosecutors failed to produce the evidence to convict the accused for the crime charged.

For his part, Bong County Attorney Jonathan Flomo describes the lost as the beauty of the justice system in the country.

According to Mr. Flomo, he presented all the evidence he and his legal team had to the jury, yet the jury determined that there was no sufficient evidence to support the indictment drawn against the defendants.

He concludes that the prosecution produced nine witnesses in the late Franklin Binda case, but the jurors still said the evidence was not enough to prove.-Edited by Winston W. Parley

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