The transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. More…

Your Honour, it may be of greater assistance if I could address your Honour for a moment on two pressing problems that we have on the Defence side of the Court today.

First of all, Mr Taylor is not present today. When we rose yesterday, I went to visit him at the detention facility and at that meeting he continued to express his concerns at the new security regime which had been imposed. I thereafter liaised with Mr Townsend regarding his contact with those responsible for Mr Taylor's detention and he informed me very helpfully that, despite him speaking to various individuals within the hierarchy of the detention facility, they were totally unprepared to budge in terms of demonstrating any flexibility towards the transport regime for Mr Taylor.

At or about 20 past nine this morning, I received a call from Mr Taylor. He continued to express his disgust at the prospect of having to travel to court under such conditions. However, because of his anxiety that the trial should continue uninterrupted, he tells me that he would be willing to attend court tomorrow, despite the continuation of that regime, so long as attention is given to seeking to remove those conditions at some time in the future.

But we have a further difficulty today, your Honours, and it's this. Mr Munyard telephoned me at 7.30 this morning to inform me that he was suffering - he'd been suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting all night and felt unable to attend court this morning.

Now your Honours will be aware that Mr Munyard has charge of the current witness and so that poses a major difficulty for the Defence so that, even if your Honours were minded in the absence of Mr Taylor as you were invited to yesterday by my learned friend Ms Hollis to continue in the accused's absence, it does create a major difficulty for the Defence in that all preparation for this particular witness has been carried out by Mr Munyard. He's ready and prepared to cross-examine the witness, but unfortunately due to his current disposition is unable to be in court and so there is that further difficulty that we face today and I apologise for that. So that is the current situation, your Honours.

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