Morning Session: Cross-Examination of Expert Witness TF1-358 Continues

Friday November 21, 2008.

10:00am: Court resumed in open session and defense counsel Mr. Terry Munyard continued the cross-examination of Expert Witness TF1-358. During the said cross-examination, defense counsel sought to establish several inconsistencies in the witness’s prior statements as well as establishing that the witness only mentioned the presence of Liberian fighters among the rebel forces when it became apparent that he was going to testify against Charles Taylor.

Presence of Liberians Among Rebel Forces

Defencd counsel sought to know whether the witness had said in his earlier statements in 2004 and 2007 that his patients told him many of their assailants were people with Liberian speaking accents.  Counsel told the witness that he made corrections to his 2004 statements in 2007 and still did not mention the issue of Liberian speaking people being part of the rebel forces. The witness responded that during those interviews, no questions were asked related to that issue. Counsel pointed out to the witness that at a latter stage, which was very recent to him testifying before the court, he volunteered the information without being asked about it. The witness said that he did not consider it necessary when he was not asked about it but later volunteered the information when it came to his mind.  Defense counsel put it to the witness that he only said so when he was put up to it recentely and that if his patients indeed told him so, he would have said it a long time ago. The witness disagreed with counsel.

2007 Interview Notes

The witness’s interview notes of 2007 stated that he used to go to Cannaught Hospital on a daily basis. Counsel asked the witness whether that was an accurate record. The witness responded that he was misquoted. Counsel also told the witness that in his statement about seeing rebel forces at Cannaught Hospital, he said he saw a guard at the gate who happened to be somebody that he taught at an institution in Liberia. Counsel further said that he did not mention in the statement that he saw groups of rebels with Liberian speaking accents. The witness responded that he told the investigators so but that it was not recorded. The witness further said that it might be the case that he omitted certain minor details since he could not remember everything at the time he was interviewed.

Counsel asked the witness whether he knew the reason for which he was interviewed in 2007. The witness said that he was told he would be an expert witness at the trials before the Special Court but was not told the person against whom he would testify. He said that he was only told sometime last year that he would be testifying against Mr. Taylor.  Defense counsel put it to the witness that when he was interviewed in 2007, he knew he would be testifying against Mr. Taylor. The witness disagreed with counsel. Counsel submitted the witness’s signed declaration that all he had said in his statements were correct to the best of his knowlege and belief. Counsel asked the witness to tell the court why he didnt make ammendments to the statements before signing the declaration. The witness said he probably oversighted certain things when he went through his statement. The witness said that when investigators obtained statements from him, they would make a recap of the statement on a daily basis before moving forward. When asked whether he had a recollecetion of the interview notes read to him before he signed his declaration, he said that the statements were not read to him but handed over to him so he could read them on his own. Defense counsel went through several portions of the witness’s statement and indexes under the photograpsh that were identified. In one of the photos, the records indicate that an amputated adult male was the witness’s patient instead of the amputated toddler as stated by the witness during examination. The witness responded that those records were wrongly put and that it was an oversight on his part not to have corrected them. He further said that the indexes on photographs 45, 46, 47 and 48 that they were taken in 1999 were wrongly recorded. When asked whether he read through any of the statements before he signed the declaration, the witness responded that he just scanned through them very quickly. Counsel also referenced portions of the statement in distinguishing among photographs where he said that those handed over to him were taken by the minister of information himself. The witness again said that the records were wrongly put and that the investigators probably put it that way to refer to the minister’s organization.

Clarification Interviews of August 18 and 19, 2008.

Counsel pointed out that the witness had clarification interviews on the dates specified above and asked the witness whether he read through those clarification statements. The witness responded that the statements were handed over to him on August 28, 2008 but he only scanned through them very quickly. Defense asked the witness whether he took the declaration seriously by just reading through the statements quickly. The witness said that he did take the declaration seriously.

Mention of Liberian Involvement in Witness’s Statements

Defense counsel asked the witness whether he knew at the time of his last interview that he was going to testify against Mr. Taylor when he mentioned the involvement of Liberian forces among the rebels. The witness said he just amplified things that he had said earlier.

Counsel asked the witness whether he has been following the Taylor trial in the news. The witness said he has seen shots of it on TV on a few occassions but has not been paying keen attention to it. He said he has been very busy to even listen to BBC’s Focus on Africa.  Defense counsel put it to the witness that like many other witnesses, he only spoke of Liberian involvement when he was coming to testify against Mr. Taylor.  The witness responded that he probably did not mention the Liberian involvement in his previous interviews because the focus of those interviews were on the patients he treated and not Liberian involvement. Counsel asked the witness whether it is a case that he cannot recall the things he said in his statements but the witness disagreed with counsel. Counsel questioned the witness about his definition of rebels as ragtag boys. He asked the witness whether kamajors were also in the same category but the witness said that kamajors were different from rebels.

Court adjourned for mid-morning break.