Defense Wants Judge Sando to Quit In Trafficking Case

TUBMANBURG, Bomi – Lawyers representing the Lebanese national Abbas El Debes in the ongoing human trafficking case have filed a motion for Judge William Sando to recuse himself from the trial.

According to the “motion to recuse,” the defense team, led by Cooper W. Kruah, said they had complained earlier to the court about the presence of armed police on the court premises.

The original motion claimed that the armed units were bent on intimidating the defense counsel, witnesses, judge, jurors and court staff.

“This case is not an armed robbery, treason or mercenary case and there is no need for the presence of heavy security armed officers on the court premises,” Arthur Tamba Johnson, one of the defense counsels, had earlier said.

El Debes”s counsel requested the court to order the armed police units to stay off the premises of the court.

The defense counsel said instead of addressing the large presence of armed police, Sando changed the objective of their motion to a jury tampering case.

“Even though there was no evidence adduced before the court relative to jury tampering, Judge Sando chose to disband 12 of the 15 empaneled jurors,” the motion read.

On Thursday, September 17, Sando disbanded 12 of the 15 jurors on the trafficking case for alleged juror tampering.

“The ruling of Judge Sando shows his bias and that the defendant fears that he has failed to show the neutrality required of a judge, for which he should recuse himself from further sitting on the trial,” the defense counsel stated.

The statement further said the decision by Sando to disband 12 jurors without any evidence of their lack of ability to serve online casino suggests that Sando does not respect the due process of law.

El Debes”s defense also pointed out that state prosecutors did not deny the claims of the large presence of armed police.

“One assumption will be that Judge Sando does not understand the subject matter that is before him and deliberately decided to make a prejudicial ruling that will put the interest of the defendant in these proceedings at risk to be brought down guilty even without evidence,” the defense counsel said.

The defense team filed another motion asking the jury management section at the Ministry of Justice to select a new 12-juror panel for the trial.

Prior to the court decision to disband the 12 empaneled jurors, the sheriff took days to complete the selection of jurors.

“He found it difficult to recruit prospective jurors,” the defense said. “And it will even be more difficult to recruit genuine new prospective jurors under the current circumstances.”

Rulings for both motions filed by the defense counsel were expected on Thursday, September, 24.

This recent development from the defense counsel could prolong the trial.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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