Partial view of the guilty men being taken back to prison during the long-running trial. They will be sentenced on June 17 2014

The jury in the trial of 13 persons at the Criminal Court “D” at the Temple of Justice for alleged mercenary activities Tuesday brought down a unanimous guilty verdict against the defendants.  The verdict came after a little over three hours of deliberation by a six-member jury comprising four men and two women.

According to the Liberia News Agency, those found guilty include Neezee Barway, Oforee Diaz, Bobby Sarpee, Edward Cole, Isaac Taryon, and Prince Youtely. Others are Mohammed Massaquoi, Sam Tarley, Jacob Saydee, Timothy Barlee, and Moses Baryee, among others.

All 13 defendants were immediately whisked off to the Monrovia Central Prison pending the final verdict and sentencing by Judge Emery Paye on June 17, 2014.

Reacting to the verdict, the Defense Team headed by Tiawon Gongloe said the verdict was “inconsistent with evidence provided” during the four-month trial that engendered lengthy arguments and counter-arguments with scores of witnesses from both the defense and prosecution.

Gongole said the Defense will take the case to a different level, while the prosecution headed by the County Attorney for Montserrado County, Counselor Darku Mulbah, praised the jurors for reaching a verdict “in the interest of the state.”


The Temple of Justice, where the trial took place

It will be recalled that a total of 18 persons were arrested after cross-border attacks into the Ivory Coast during that country’s 2010-2012 civil war, that left several persons killed, including seven United Nations Peacekeepers.

However, five of the accused were released in April for lack of sufficient evidence, leaving the 13 that were found guilty today

Meanwhile, following the unanimous verdict, County Attorney Mulbah told the Liberia News Agency that the verdict sends a clear message that Liberia is a country of law.

 “Liberia is a place where no one will be allowed to violate the law and go with impunity,” Mulbah said.

He added: “Liberians are peace-loving and desire to live in peace, and the verdict of the court will serve as a deterrent to would-be trouble-makers in the region.