Witness Denies Receiving Monetary Payments From Special Court Officials

Charles Taylor’s defense witness today denied prosecution suggestions that he received money from court officials as an incentive to testify before taking the witness stand on behalf of the former Liberian president in The Hague.

As the cross-examination of Mr. Taylor’s fifteenth witness, “DCT-190”, finished today, prosecutors focused on payments made to him in connection with his appearance at the Special Court for Sierra Leone as a defense witness.  The witness denied receiving money as an incentive for his testimony, telling the court instead that its Victims and Witness Section (VWS) indeed provided some money for him  — but that such money went towards medical services, transportation and accommodation. He did not physically see the money paid on his behalf.

While being involved with the Charles Taylor team, have you received any payment from the court?” prosecution counsel, Kathryn Howarth, asked the witness.

“No,” he said.

Ms. Howarth asked the witness whether he had received an amount of 899,000 Leones (about USD $230) for medical services.

“I had a tooth ache and was treated and my daughter was ill and taken care of but I don’t know if it went up to that amount,” he said.

Ms. Howarth put before the witness a WVS document titled “Expenses incurred on DTC-190,” which itemized the amounts of money spent on the witness and the purposes for which said monies were disbursed.

“As I have told you, this is a figure that is shown but I was taken to the hospital and given treatment,” the witness said when asked again about the 899,000 Leones.

The witness agreed that he received about 760,000 Leones (about USD $200) to cover expenses relating to transportation from his work place in Sierra Leone’s provinces to the country’s capital. Ms. Howarth pressed the witness on the number times he had travelled to Freetown and whether the amount was justified. The witness said he travelled to Freetown twice.

Ms. Howarth also pointed out that the witness received about 497,000 Leones (about USD $130) for miscellaneous expenses and 250,000 Leones (about USD $64) as attendance allowance. While the witness said he did not know what the meaning of miscellaneous allowance was, he denied in clear terms that he had received money for an “attendance allowance.”

“I am completely unaware of attendance allowance. Nobody has ever given me money for attendance allowance,” he said.

When asked about WVS’s expense of 360,000  Leones (about USD $92) on his accommodation while he was being prepared for his testimony, the witness said “that is correct, for my hotel.”

Ms. Howarth pointed out that a total amount of 2,772,000  Leones (about $706) was spent on the witness based on the document provided by WVS.

“I’ve never received that amount of money. The money they are claiming, one of it was paid for medications, so I’ve not received that kind of money,” the witness responded.

The witness explained that if the money was spent on him, it could be justified because he would not be expected to leave his job, pay his way to Freetown and then pay his own accommodation bills without any support from the court. He, however, denied receiving physical cash from court officials.

“But I’ve told you I never received physical money from the court. In Sierra Leone, what we call physical is when they give money to you —  but they did not come and show me receipts that this is the money we have spent on you,” the witness said.

As the witness concluded his testimony this morning, the judges granted a defense request that the trial be adjourned until Monday, July 5, 2010 because Mr. Taylor’s lead defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, has been ill and unable to prepare the next witness.

The trial of Mr. Taylor will resume next Monday.


  1. Here is another example of how frustrating it must be for prosecution in cross-examining these highly intellegent individuals, but with limited knowledge of the “Queen’s Language”:”But I’ve told you I never received physical money from the court. In Sierra Leone, what we call physical is when they give money to you — but they did not come and show me receipts that this is the money we have spent on you,” the witness said.”
    How do you prepare questionaire for such individuals when the phrase such as, ” you are” means differently from “you is”? Taylor’s Team knew this would be a problem in this trial, and probably did it on purpose! Come Noko4, Helen, JoseRodreguese,Jacone, and Sam. What is your take on my opinion? My advise to the Prosecution is that they ask these questions in simple English. For example; how much was your spending money? What pocket change did the people give you? How much you think they owe you now since they promised you such and such? Do the math!

    1. Hey Fallah,

      Do you remember the Video THE FIFTY STATE that made mentioned of the name Peter Penfall, the British Commissioner, Diamond works, Tim Spicer, Siceno, and ect from the mercenary group, “Sandline”, that savagely murdered the innocent people of Sierra Leone for their diamonds? Remember now, this witness that you are calling names, said the AK rifle they received from Sandline was called Peter penfall. However, they got direct instruction that they should not call the weapon Peter Penfall, because they (Sandline) didn’t want to be implicated. Do you still think she doesn’t know what she’s talking about? President Taylor has once more disgraced the international community again. The prosecution knows the real culprits. Let them go after them and leave this innocent man alone. By the way, where is the 5 billion dollars? However, Sierra Leoneans, we told you that it was a hoax and a propaganda war led by David Crane, Stephen Rapp, Alan White, and the entire prosecution team. You guys were shouting like peasants with pitch folks in your hands ready to storm the gates of Mr. Taylor in order to maul him for your so-call diamond and 5 billion dollars. Fallah, when you guys get the 5 billion dollars, please don’t forget to develop Sierra Leone. In your dream

      1. AKA GENERAL FIXIT…You are coming in very very heavy. keep it up boy, its a slam dunk…Say somthing FALLAH MENJOR.. PLEASE

    2. Fallah,
      Griffith is only showing to Hollis that he’s a better lawyer. I bet if you had a problem which allowed you to choose between the two , you will go for Griffith. DONT EVEN FAKE IT…The guy is well vested in the career.

    3. Fallah it will be good to offer the advice to the prosecution since they try to use words to trick the defence witnesses when asking them questions. you see simple questions are best for cases like this.

  2. Well following the conclusion of the testimony of DCT-190 I think he has not been a good witness for the defence his testimony in my view is grossly not credible. unfortunately he fell into the trap of the prosecution by denying even trivial details in his testimony which do not go to the substance of his evidence calling into question the truthfulness of the substance of his testimony.

    Having said that however, I do not think that this blip by the defence will seriously affect the defence case. up to this point the witnesses paraded by the defence have been largely credible and there is no doubt that the defence has dealt a fatal blow to the prosecution case.

    In terms of allegations by the prosecution of financial inducement as motivation for testifying by the defence witness, I wish to say that up to date, this is only the second time that the prosecution has made this allegation despite the fact that the defence has called more than fifteen witness. this shows that unlike the prosecution witnesses that almost all of them can be validly accussed of been motivated by financial gain, only two defence witnesses to date are deemed by the prosecution to be motivated by such. this shows the quality and credibility of defence witnesses.

    I wish Courtney Griffiths QC a speedy recovery and I hope by Monday 5 July , he will be fit enough to continue with his case.

  3. Like we say in Liberia, “seed finished, game finished” it is now very cleared that the prosecution has lost track of this case. Their line of questioning is very poor and is not going to help them. Can you imagine that Ms. Howarth will ever think that the court pay witnesses to testify on behalf of Mr. Taylor, and at the same time prosecute him? This is irritating if not crazy. I can not really think of what she is trying to prove here. Tracey/Alphat can any of you help me?


    Harris K Johnson

    1. Harris K Johnson,
      there is no need to ask for help from any one apart from the prosecution team and Fallah in understanding prosecution strategies in this case because they seem to be the only ones who make sense of the way the prosecution is pursuing its case.

  4. I see no point debating about this trial. If there’s a better case out there, Tracey, I ask we switch the network spy glass there so we can debate some sense.

    As for this one, justice from now is to let Taylor go home! No point, no evident, pay the man for taking away his liberty for reason unproved.

  5. MS HOWARTH attempted to discredit the defense witness in this exchange but at the end she discredited herself:

    Q. So there’s nothing in paragraph 47 that refers to you going
    to Guinea, briefing the men, then returning to Freetown for more
    recruitment, is there?
    A. In paragraph 47?
    Q. Yeah.
    A. There is nothing like that, but in the subsequent
    paragraphs you will see it.
    Q. Okay. Well, have a look at 48, 49 and see if you can see
    it in there.
    A. If you could see 48 and you go to the fifth line, we were
    receiving arms and ammunition from the Guinean government of the
    UN peace contingent base in Sierra Leone. We went to Bomi, link
    up with the forces from Guinea in Bomi. We decided to make a big
    push for Monrovia.
    Q. Well, that also doesn’t say, “I went to Guinea. I briefed
    the men in Guinea. I returned to Freetown to do more
    recruitment,” does it? It’s completely different.

    Now after bartering the witness that he was lying about saying in his statement that he went to Guinea, MS HOWARTH quoted from the very paragraph 47:

    Q. Now, in your statement, middle of paragraph 47, you say
    this: “I went to Guinea. There were about 400 to 500 of us
    Special Forces and CDF.” It was a combined group of Special
    Forces and CDF that went over, wasn’t it?

    The facts from the exchange is obvious that the witness was truthful in his statements.

  6. here is another deception that Ms. Howarth wanted to play on the witness. She argued that the witness claimed to have read the notes from the defense and approve of it, the witness rejected that assertion from ms. Howarth. Here is the line of exchanges:

    The frist one:
    Q. And this occasion how long did you spend with Logan and
    A. Conducting the interview?
    Q. Yeah. How long did it take?
    A. Almost half of the day.
    Q. And again the same question: Did you have a chance to read
    through any notes that were taken?
    A. Yes. They have to explain to me exactly.

    Note: the witness did not say that he personally read the notes but that it was explained to him. Let follow up:
    Q. Okay. And I think you might know the date better than I
    did, but was it 6 June, a Sunday, that you met with lawyers in
    The Hague?
    A. That’s correct.
    Q. And on that occasion was – were any notes taken of what –
    the conversations you were having with those lawyers?
    A. That’s correct.
    Q. And which lawyers did you meet with on that occasion?
    A. Ms Logan and Mr Griffiths.
    Q. And, again, you’ve mentioned that notes were taken. Were
    the notes that were taken read back or checked with you?
    A. Yeah, they were read back and checked with me, correct.

    Again , the witness did not say that he personally read the notes but that they were read back to him. Lets follow up:
    Q. Mr Witness, you have the notes of 6 June 2010 in front of
    you. Do you recognise that as the note that was taken during the
    proofing session on Sunday, 6 June?
    A. Say again.
    Q. Do you recognise that as the proofing note that was taken
    when you met with Mr Griffiths QC and Logan on the Sunday before
    you started giving evidence.
    A. Unless you give me time to go through, so I just go first
    and see.
    Q. Just have a look at the front page. Is that something you
    recognise or not? There is no need to read through it all now.
    If you look at the front page, and please don’t call the name but
    do you see your name at the top of that —
    A. That’s correct.

    Again, the witness did not say that he personally read the notes or that he recognized the notes to be the exact notes from Mr. Griffins.One can easily assign the witness “that’s correct” answer to the identification of his name. Ok lets follow up:

    Q. Well, Mr Witness, when I asked you first thing this morning
    whether notes were read back to you and whether you checked them,
    you said, “Oh, yes, I checked them. They were right.” So why
    are you changing your version of events now?
    A. I told you they never gave me the notes to read. What I
    explained to them was what they told me that they have taken note
    of. And I never knew in fact there was jottings like this,
    because I knew very well they have made statements before and
    that statements is there with them pending. So if you go through
    my statement you will see facts that are omitted in this
    particular paper that you are showing to me, the handwriting
    Q. Mr Witness, you said the opposite this morning, didn’t you?
    A. Which opposite are you talking about?
    Q. You said you checked through and it was all right. It was
    A. I never told you I checked through the notes. I told you
    after making this statement with my lawyers, they explained back
    to me. I never told you I checked through. They never gave it
    to me personally to read.

    So who is telling the truth here? Ms. Howarth or the witness? Well from the exchanges so far, the witness has been consistent in saying that he never personally read the notes. Rather the notes were either explained to him or read back to him. But just like her boss Brenda Hollis, Ms. Howarth is twisting the witness statements. What a shameful prosecution that chooses to get a criminal conviction of an accused person based on lies and deception. This is a cruel kind of international justice system that allows the prosecution to feed on lies and deception.

    1. Momo Dahn,
      There is nothing strange or sinester about the tactics used by the prosecution in cross examination of this witness it is the same method used by almost all criminal prosecutors and defence lawyers all over the world in trying to play with words and craftily phrase questions in such a way that they get the answer they want from the witness in order to support their case or disprove his evidence. unfortunately it is a legitimate way of cross examination. but the fact is it is the judges that decides based on the witness’s evidence on the record wether there were indeed inconsistencies or wether the witness’s evidence is reasonably credible in order to attach the needed weight to it when making their final decision on the case.

  7. Harry K Johnson, don’t jump too fast at conclusions of aquittal, for facts that all of these highly coached defense witnesses has contradicted either themselves or the blood letting Charles Taylor they claimed to be testifying for, and in the interest of justice they have said enought to put Charles Taylor away for life. all we are waiting for is that faithful day when his guilty verdit will be presented.

    1. Ziggy Salis,
      youhave only commented about the defence witnesses. What about prosecution witnesses were their testimonies consistent without any contradiction? I wish to remind you that inconsistencies in the prosecution case has more consequencies than inconsistencies in the defence case since a criminal court does not convict someone based on evidence that is doubtful.

  8. Ziggy

    I’m sorry that you don’t even have 101 education on how the Criminal Justice System works. Your lack of knowledge on how the entire justice system works, has led you to speak the way you hear others speak in the streets. But let me remind you that in this case Mr. Taylor, like another accused person, has nothing to prove here. All he has to do is to denial the allegation against him. The burden of prove lives squally with the prosecution, and that is to present in this court of law convincing evidence beyond all reasonable doubt that Mr. Taylor bears the greatest responsibility of the war in Sierra Leone. Finally, if you are going to base Mr. Taylor guilt on witnesses’ contradictions, you must start to build your confine while you are alive to satisfy your final resting place because Mr. Taylor will walk free to your disappointment. It is an open secret that prosecution witnesses contradicted each other statements the most.

    Harris K Johnson

  9. Well people, the court has granted the prosecution motion to call three additional witnesses. This obviously is the last straw the prosecution has to salvage this fake case. let us see how they fare. they should be ready for a serious battle ahead in court.

    1. Sam,
      Thanks, but let me tell you some thing. My grandfather once told me that a drowning man will hold on to anything, even if it is a knife to safe his live. We all know how badly things are turning the prosecution way in court. They have no choice, but to run places looking for anyone who will tell them something, be it creditable or not. No need to worry, if the many witnesses couldn’t do any good, how much more can three people do? If they like let them call thousand more.

      Harris K Johnson

  10. Dear Sirs

    Just a lay man following proceedings online, I am enquiring. Is it a normal practice for prosecution to be allowed to call extra withness. will the same apply to defence?


    1. Bamba Dinka,
      Welcome to the forum. The answer to your question above is YES it is normal. The judges have the discretion to allow the prosecution to reopen its case in order to call additional witnesses. The defense also have the opportunity to cross examine those witnesses and infact apply to call their call their own witnesses too. So it is allowed according to the rules of this court.

  11. Find this man guilty and throw the keys away please. Enough with the propaganda and the he say she say. No matter what we know he won’t be set free so lets just move to the appeal process and save tax payers’ money.

  12. The hypocrisy of justice is really ruling the policy and rules of this court. What kind of criminal trial that allows the prosecution to call in extra witnesses following their presentation in chief? This is a mockery especially that this is the same court that was recently warning the defense to hurry up with its witnesses. Wow!

  13. President George Bush should be ashamed of himself for the crimes he committed against The Republic of Liberia. So should Susan Rice and Congressman Donald Payne.

    Liberia Belongs to Black America

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