Gloria Maya Musu-Scott: Liberia’s ex-chief justice sentenced to life for murder

Monrovia, Liberia

Liberia’s former chief justice and justice minister Gloria Maya Musu-Scott has been sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder of her niece.

It marks the fall from grace of one of Liberia’s most famous judges and politicians, who prided herself as a champion of women rights.

Musu-Scott, 70, is now in jail, hoping to overturn the ruling on appeal.

A judge sentenced the retired judge after a jury convicted her for the murder of Charloe Musu, 29.

Musu-Scott’s trial heard that she – along with three other women – had “wilfully, intentionally, purposely and maliciously inflicted several bodily injuries” on her niece at her home last June.

Musu had suffered wounds to her chest, right hand, left thigh, and left armpit after being stabbed with a sharp instrument, believed to be a knife, the indictment alleged.

The former chief justice denied the charge, saying the 29-year-old had been killed by an “assassin” who had entered her home in the capital, Monrovia.

Her arrest came as a shock to many Liberians and her trial was closely followed, especially as it came in the build-up to December’s presidential election.

Musu-Scott was a prominent member of President-elect Joseph Boakai’s political party, and was part of its high-powered legal team which successfully challenged the election commission’s refusal to allow parties to see the voters’ roll.

Her relatives, friends and supporters wept after Judge Roosevelt Z Willie sentenced her and the three other women, aged 80, 36 and 20, local media reported.

She served as Liberia’s justice minister and then as its most senior judge – the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – until her retirement in 2003.

She later entered politics, and was a lawmaker in Maryland County until 2012, according to the African Women in Law website.

In 2012, she was appointed the chairperson of the Constitutional Review Committee, as Liberia tried to strengthen democracy and good governance following the authoritarian rule and conflicts of the past.

Her lawyer Augustine Fayiah told the BBC he would appeal against her conviction and sentencing within the coming days.

The appeal would list the “errors” of the judge, and show that jurors did not acting independently, he said.

“Their decisions were tempered with by justice ministry officials,” the lawyer alleged.

After the jury’s verdict last month, a prosecuting lawyer was quoted as saying that there was overwhelming evidence against the accused and he believed it had given the right verdict.

Mr Boakai is due to be sworn in as president on 22 January after he defeated George Weah.

Source: BBC News

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