The Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, Freetown and The Hague

Independent Counsel v. Prince Taylor

 

Prince Taylor, a former Special Court defence investigator who most recently had worked for the Charles Taylor (no relation) defence team, was charged on 4 October 2012 by an Order in Lieu of an Indictment with 9 counts of contempt of court. The first eight counts related to four Prosecution witnesses who testified against Charles Taylor, and the ninth relates to Eric Koi Senessie, a former RUF member who was convicted of interference with witnesses on 21 June 2012.

Counts 1, 3, 5, 6 alleged that Prince Taylor offered a bribe to a witness to recant testimony given before a chamber through instructions to Eric Senessie, and counts 2, 4, 7, 8 alleged that he had "otherwise interfered" with a witness who had given evidence before a chamber through instructions he gave to Eric Senessie. Count 9 alleged that he interfered with Eric Senessie when he was a potential witness before a chamber by instructing and persuading him to give false information to the Independent Investigator (later Independent Counsel) appointed by the Registrar.

At his initial appearance on 6 October 2012, Prince Taylor pleaded not guilty to all counts.

On 25 January 2013, Prince Taylor was found guilty on counts 2, 4, 7 and 8, of "otherwise interfering" with Taylor prosecution witnesses to induce them to recant their testimony. He was also convicted on count 9, of interferring with Eric Koi Senessie. He was acquitted on counts 1,3, 5 and 6 of offering bribes to prosecution witnesses.

On 3 February 2013, Prince Taylor was sentenced to serve a prison sentence of 2-1/2 years.

On 14 May 2013, a three-judge panel of the Appeals Chamber dismissed his appeal for being filed out of time, and for failing to either apply for additional time or to file with a deficient filing form, meaning that the appeal was not properly before the Chamber. On 4 June 2013 the Judges accepted a re-filed appeal with an application for additional time.

On 30 October 2013 the Appeals Chamber overturned Prince Taylor's convictions, finding by a majority that no reasonable trier of fact could have placed decisive weight on the evidence of Eric Koi Senessie, who had admitted to giving false testimony in his own trial.