Is Trial by Jury a Judicial Obstruction?

first_imgGiven the history of jury performance in Liberia in both the distant and recent past, the answer to this question is, it would seem, a resounding “Yes!”All too often the state has lost major cases because wealthy defendants—or their lawyers, or both—have “taken care of the jury,” leaving the Ministry of Justice or lawyers for the prosecution looking incompetent or clownish (ignorant). The most recent example of this was the suspension by the Supreme Court last Monday of further proceedings in the ongoing economic sabotage case involving the former Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Matilda Parker, and her Comptroller, Madam Christiana Kpabar Paelay. The High Court’s decision was issued by Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie based on a complaint filed by state lawyers. They asked the High Court to mandate Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ to deliver his recent ruling in a jury tampering investigation for review.Judge Dixon last week in his jury tampering allegation refused to disband the sequestrated jury, but dropped only three of the 15-member panel—Kissi Kamara, Kebbeh Kollie and Melvin Teah Neowen—all of whom prosecutors accused of being behind a plot, exposed through a certain letter allegedly involving them, to collect money from the defendants to influence the outcome of the trial. The judge also ignored the prosecution’s plea to disband the entire panel, but ordered the remaining 12 jurors to sit on the case because, according to him, the letter did not reach them.Madam Justice Wolokollie has meanwhile instructed defendants Parker and Paelay to appear before her today, Monday, February 29.The matter is further complicated by Judge Dixon’s removal of Kissi Kamara, whose mother, Jenneh Kamara, was the person currently cooking for the jury and is said also to be implicated in the jury tampering allegation. So prosecution wondered why she, too, was not removed, but only her son. Prosecution further complained that the letter bearing the names of two of the three jurors, Kollie and Neowen, and an unnamed other were seized from Bailiffs Bendu Dukuly and Roland Nyanku, assigned with the sequestered jurors.During the investigation, it was alleged that one Peter Wisdom Fayiah, believed to be the assistant manager of the Jury Management Team, was the person who gave the letter to the two bailiffs for delivery to the panel.Prosecution further complains that the judge failed to take any action against Peter Fayiah, nor did Judge Dixon honor prosecution’s request to allow them to look at the Temple of Justice personnel list to verify whether the signature on the back of the letter resembled that of Fayiah’s.We commend the High Court for its timely action. We submit that the officials of the Supreme Court could not sit idly by, supinely witnessing such a serious allegation of jury tampering in such a high profile case—or any other case—without exercising its authority to protect the integrity of the judicial system.While we await the outcome of the investigation into the alleged involvement of the bailiffs and jurors in this case, we are constrained to revisit the constitutional principle of trial by jury. The Constitution calls for all persons being prosecuted for crime to be tried by their peers, meaning a jury constituted by the court. This is deemed a constitutional right by all party litigants in criminal trials. But who are these so-called “peers” that the Constitution talks about? Are they peers of individuals who happen to be, for one reason or the other, rightly or wrongly, accused of being in violation of the law? Or are they those who believe that the quickest way to wealth and prosperity is through their selection and appointment as jurors, waiting to seize any and every opportunity to extort money from party litigants in the deliberate, devious, corrupt and unpatriotic attempt to circumvent, frustrate and undermine the cause of justice? We trust that this latest intervention by the High Court will ensure a thorough and complete investigation into jury tampering. Where did the letter come from? How did it reach Peter Fayiah? As an employee of the Jury Management Team, a body that was created to help protect the integrity and smooth functioning of juries, how was it possible for him to receive any letter directed to the jury without the Judge’s knowledge? The recipient of such a letter should have been where the buck immediately stopped, for he should have known that it was grossly improper, even criminal, for anyone for any reason whatsoever even to attempt approaching or contacting a sequestered jury.The public is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the investigation to determine whether in truth yet again the jury in Liberia is nothing more than an obstruction of justice.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Is It Safe To Eat Moldy Bread

first_imgAlex Reynolds/NPRYou may be tempted to save a piece of a moldy loaf by discarding the fuzzy bits. But food safety experts say molds penetrate deeper into the food than what’s visible to us. And eating moldy food comes with health risks.Like politics and music, the question of whether to eat moldy food can divide families, with relatives’ admonishments reverberating in one’s head for years.“Every time I throw out moldy bread, I can still hear my dad lecturing me: ‘That’s perfectly good! Just cut that part off! It’s penicillin!’ ” says Shawna Iwaniuk, a graphic designer in Alberta, Canada. “But … I just can’t.”So, who’s right? Is the furry green stuff a death knell for a baguette, or just a minor setback?For food safety experts, the answer is clear: Moldy bread is bad news.“We don’t recommend cutting mold off of bread, because it’s a soft food,” says Marianne Gravely, a senior technical information specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture. “With soft food, it’s very easy for the roots [of the mold], or the tentacles, or whatever creepy word you want to use, to penetrate” deeper into the food.Molds, which look like mini-mushrooms under a microscope, are actually a type of fungi, with visible spores on the surface and a network of microscopic roots that twist deep below that are often invisible to the naked eye. So a mold’s penetration into a piece of bread may be greater than a quick look-over suggests, says Gravely.You might have slightly more leeway when it comes to sliced bread in a bag: If after careful inspection of the interior and exterior of the bread on a long loaf, you can tell one end is unaffected, keep it, Gravely says. But otherwise, it should be tossed — the fact that bread is sliced is no guarantor that mold hasn’t spread.“I have seen mold spread from one slice to the next,” she says.What’s more, by the time mold has moved in, other harmful kinds of bacteria associated with food spoiling may also have infiltrated the food.Some molds, like those used for Gorgonzola cheese, are safe to eat. But the mold dotting bread isn’t a benign source of extra fiber. Gravely says people who eat moldy food may suffer allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Even inhaling mold can be dangerous. To avoid breathing mold, the USDA recommends putting food in a plastic bag and then in a covered trashcan, out of the reach of children and animals.“I’m sure some people would really want to press the situation, but bread is cheap,” says Gravely. “Go buy some more.”Soft fruits, lunch meats and jams also must be tossed once moldy, she adds. But for those who mourn their castaway croissants, there’s some good news: Tougher foods are salvageable even after fungus has invaded. Hard cheeses, salamis and vegetables like carrots, bell peppers and cabbage have tougher surfaces, making it more difficult for a mold’s roots to move through. So you can excise the mold at the surface before it ruins the food’s interior. For such foods, Gravely recommends cutting the mold out with a clean knife, allowing an inch of buffer on each side of a fuzzy patch.Of course, the best way to cut down on funeral dirges for food past its prime is not to let the food get moldy in the first place. Gravely advises inspecting produce sold in plastic containers before buying it at the store. If shoppers discover a couple of moldy strawberries once at home, no need to jettison the entire bunch — just wash the other strawberries well and make sure the mold hasn’t spread. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has an app that helps consumers know how long different types of food generally last. Refrigerating food keeps it fresh longer, and cleaning the refrigerator every few months helps purge any food beginning to mold.“They’re pretty clever and adaptable,” Gravely says of mold spores. “They prefer moist environments and warm temperatures, but they can grow in the refrigerator, and they can grow in sweet things or salty things.”But consumers shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the puny kitchen invaders, she says. After all, she adds, remember who’s in charge: “Food in your kitchen is completely within your control.”Gnawing Questions is a semi-weekly column answering the food mysteries puzzling us and our readers. Got a question you want us to explore? Let us know via our contact form.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Sharelast_img read more