…. Just as the case is about to start
The Ministry of Justice is requesting a change of venue in the impending trial of former Chief Justice, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott and others on trial for murder.
The prosecution team is requesting a change of venue for the trial due to the intense wave of public sentiment created around the case. The government also claimed that it is highly likely that the jurors, who will be the deciders of the matter, have been tampered with.
The ministry’s request stems from “concerns over the potential bias of the jurors,” who may have been tampered with.
Intense media coverage and public discussions surrounding the case have all been cited as reasons by the Ministry for the change of venue so that the outcome of the case cannot be compromised.
The trial, which has garnered much national attention, is scheduled to commence during the August term of Criminal Court C, which Judge Roosevelt Willie heads.
Cllr. Scott, a respected jurist who once held the highest judicial office in the nation, along with her co-defendants, have denied government claims of murdering Chaloe Musu, a relative of the defendants, on February 22.
Scott and three of her family members are awaiting court trials since being charged with murder, criminal conspiracy, and making false statements to law enforcement officers.
The Court has set the trial for the August term of court, but the Ministry, in a new pretrial motion filed on August 2, is seeking to relocate the case from Montserrado Court Criminal Court C’ without naming the new County.
Meanwhile, the defense legal team, which is made up of 30 seasoned lawyers, including Scott herself, has yet to respond to the request.
The Ministry’s motion argued that a change of venue is necessary as potential jurors in Montserrado have been “prejudiced” due to extensive media coverage of the defendants’ indictment.
The motion also cites a “group of people with mixed reactions, overwhelmed, singing, chanting slogans, and dancing with the anxiety of desperation, who were often seen in the courtyard discussing the case at some point, waiting for the outcome of the pretrial proceedings.
The situation poses “threat and uncertainty for all the parties within the matters, in which the change of venue should be granted,” the Ministry added.
Scott and her family members were indicted following the death of her foster daughter, Charloe Musu, at their residence in February of this year.
The indictment, among other things, claimed that on February 22, at about “10:00 p.m., the defendants, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, Gertrude Newton, Alice Johnson, and Rebecca Y. Wisner, with criminal minds and intent, armed with a sharp instrument believed to be a knife and pepper spray, intentionally inflicted several bodily injuries on the deceased, including her chest, right hand, left thigh, and left armpit, which led to her death, thereby committing the crime of murder.”