Chief Justice and presiding officer in the impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh has denied an application to delete the testimony of expert witness Philip A.Z Banks from the records of the proceedings. Philip Banks is a legally retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia bench who was last week invited by defence lawyers to serve as expert witness in the ongoing trial at the Senate.
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor in his judgement said he could not grant the request of prosecution lawyers on grounds that the plaintiff allowed him (retired Associate Justice Philip Banks) to be duly qualified and share his thoughts on the matter as an expert before the trial of facts.
In their request, the petitioners prayed the wisdom of the presiding officer to trash the testimony of Mr. Banks because he “does not qualify as expert witness”.
The prosecution team also stated their request is based on the fact that the expert witness is not a neutral person evidenced by numerous judgemental comments made by him. According to the prosecutors, the provision of the organic law relied on by the expert witness to suggest that the impeachment trial is unconstitutional, has Long been settled by the Supreme Court. “No single person has the authority to declare unconstitutional a provision of the constitution that has been declared valid by the Supreme Court of Liberia which is the final orbital of constitutional matters” prosecution team said. In their appeal to the presiding officer, the lawyers representing the House of Representatives argued that retired Associate Justice Philip Banks does not have the right to give his opinion on the Constitutionality of the case because according to them, he (Philip Banks) does not hold a degree in Constitutional law. Justice Banks teaches constitutional law at the university of Liberia’s graduate school. The team is also quoted as saying, “we pray you, Mr. Presiding officer to have the testimony of the expert witness removed from the records as if to say, said testimony was never given by the witness on the stance. But in the judgment of the presiding officer Francis Korkpor, the prosecutors should rather convince the trial of facts to decide at the end of the trial.