The Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia has acquitted two men charged with criminal conspiracy, smuggling, and theft of property, based upon a verdict handed down by a twelve- member Jury Panel.
At the same time, the panel returned a hung verdict in the economic sabotage, and criminal facilitation charges against the two men.
Defendants Armstrong T. Campbell and Sheak K. Brown were arrested, charged and forwarded to court one month ago for criminal conspiracy, smuggling, theft of property economic sabotage, and criminal facilitation.
The jury’s verdict comes after weeks of trial at the Criminal Court “C” over their alleged involvement in the smuggling of seven vehicles from the U.S. for which the indictees were said to have failed to pay taxes to government tax collectors at the Freeport of Monrovia.
In the deliberation room, the jury panel was divided in its decision for each of the charges levied against the two men. Nine jurors found defendant Campbell guilty of criminal facilitation but said defendant Brown is not guilty of such crime, while three of the jury panel members went against this decision.
According to the court record, eleven of the jurors found Campbell and Brown not guilty of theft of property, but one juror did not support this verdict.
The court record noted that on the different charges levied against the two men including economic sabotage, smuggling, criminal conspiracy, the jury panel always had a divided verdict, with much of the panel members deciding a not guilty verdict.
Handing down the final ruling Monday, Yusuf D. Kaba, Presiding Judge of Criminal Court C” in Monrovia, said “as for the crime of criminal conspiracy, smuggling and theft of property the defendants are hereby adjudged not guilty, while for the crime of criminal facilitation and economic sabotage, the jury not having reached a verdict in conformity with law, the same is hereby declared a hung verdict and a new trial is hereby ordered.”
Judge Kaba noted that considering that the crime of economic sabotage still encompasses the rest of the case, the vehicles shall remain in the custody of the Sheriff of the Court pending the final determination of the crime of criminal facilitation and economic sabotage.