Judges of the Special Court for Sierra Leone today granted a defense request for a one week adjournment of the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor. The judges also granted a defense request for restrictions on Mr. Taylor not to discuss his testimony with anyone, including his own lawyers.
When the court adjourned with the conclusion of Mr. Taylor’s cross-examination by prosecutors on Friday, it was anticipated that the former president’s defense lawyers will commence his re-examination today. However, when the court resumed this morning, lead defense counsel for Mr. Taylor, Courtenay Griffiths, informed the judges that certain contentious issues had been identified in Mr. Taylor’s cross-examination and that the former president wished to discuss those issues with his defense team before the commencement of his re-examination. Lead prosecution counsel, Ms. Brenda Hollis, raised her objection to the defense application, but her objection was overrulled by the judges.
Presiding Judge of the Chamber, Justice Julia Sebutinde, stated that it was part of Mr. Taylor’s fair trial rights to consult a lawyer of his choosing and for him to be given adequate time to prepare his defense. According to Justice Sebutinde, the one week adjournment requested by the defense was not unreasonable.
Court was adjourned for one week and Mr. Taylor’s re-examination is set to commence on Monday February 15, 2010.