UNMIL Gun Thieves Rejected in Court
The Juvenile Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia has declined to prosecute suspects Abraham Mulbah, 17, David Tamba, 16, and Lackay Forkpa, 16, who have been accused of stealing an AK-47 rifle from a Nigerian soldier serving with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Police say the suspects had in their possession 21 live bullets, including the AK-47 gun when they were arrested in Firestone, Margibi County on Sunday, July 22, 2012 and subsequently brought to Monrovia for further probe.
But after they were charged and sent to court, the Juvenile Court at the Temple of Justice said it could not accept the suspects on grounds that the crime was allegedly committed in Margibi.
Juvenile Court Clerk Wellington Jah told this paper last week that the “suspects are all residents of Margibi County - there they should be tried.”
However, he explained the case could only be transferred to Monrovia “except [defense lawyers] request for change of venue for whatever reason during trial.”
Jah said though there is no juvenile court in Margibi County, the law empowers magistrates in every county to play the role of a juvenile judge to handle cases involving children until there is a need for transfer.
In April this year, police reported that a Nigerian UNMIL Soldier lost his weapon to the juvenile suspected armed robbers, but they have been at large until their arrest last month in the wake of an alleged plan to carry out armed robbery in the Firestone area.
Meanwhile, police investigators say prime suspect Abraham Mulbah, who allegedly led the mission to steal the UNMIL soldier’s weapon, has denied using the arm for robbery.