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

Oh, from the Prosecution's fund.

That money was paid to him whilst he was said to be providing information, and it covers transport, lost wages, but essentially it is for information and support, financial support, to him.

I should say that on the 5th occasion when he was paid that money, he was also given a letter of immunity from Prosecution should he give evidence in this trial.

Now, what was interesting about that was that he was clearly a confidant of witness TF1-375. Witness 375 started to give evidence in June of 2008, and he gave evidence in June 2008 about the very incident that he had only suddenly remembered the previous month when being interviewed by the Prosecution. In the meantime, he had to be - his evidence had to be interrupted. He was sent back to West Africa and returned here to resume his evidence in August of 2008. Throughout all that time, the Prosecution are lavishing this large amount of money, over $3,000 over a matter of a few months, on this friend, contact, of 375, who they were clearly, in our submission, clearly hoping to persuade to give evidence. And there can be no better illustration of that fact than the letter of immunity from Prosecution that he was given as early as June of 2008.

So here is somebody who is put into the hands of the Prosecution as a result of other evidence that was given in this case, who is provided with a very considerable sum, and the sweetener of the offer of immunity from prosecution. He, in our submission, is a clear example of the process that has been followed in financial support for witnesses who the Prosecution are hoping to persuade to come to court and give evidence. As you know, he himself didn't but his friend, 375, did come to court to give evidence and I'm now going to turn, if I may, to that particular witness. I should say that we have touched on this witness in paragraphs 1410 to 1423 of the final trial brief and I'm going to just highlight some of the relevant evidence of that witness.

Now, this was a witness who was seen in total, I think I'm right in saying, 24 times by the Prosecution, certainly it was a figure in that order, interviewed many, many times by the Prosecution. He was seen between September 2005 and May 2008, and in that time he was provided by the Prosecution with over $4,000 and 825,000 leones, and he did not come into the protection - sorry, he came into the protection of the Court, that's to say he was also under the care of the witness and victims service from the 20th of August 2006. So the Court will appreciate that from the 20th of August 2006 up to May of 2008, he was being paid monies, expense was being incurred on his behalf by both the Prosecution and by the witness and victims section, and as we saw in the course of his evidence, the witness and victims section, from the 20th of August 2006 to the 15th of August 2008 spent a total of 38,359,200 leones, that's roughly speaking at that time I think about $10,000, bearing in mind the exchange rate at the time. That included 13 million, nearly a third of that, was subsistence allowance and a category called miscellaneous of 3 and a half million leones, over that period of time. Miscellaneous being explained by him as payment for an expensive computer course that he was sent on. But while he's in receipt of $10,000 worth of court money, he's also in receipt, for most of that same period of time, of over $4,000 worth of Prosecution money, as well as 825,000 leones.

Now, what was the money spent on? Why was he given this money? He is somebody who told the Court in the course of his evidence that on one occasion at least he was paid $50, $50, for taking another witness to see the Prosecution on his motorbike, a distance of five minutes.

When asked, "Have you been paid $50 for spending that small amount of gasoline in your motorbike before?" He said, "Yes, they have been giving me gas more than that before."

He was also - he also told the Court that he wasn't satisfied with being given only $50 for a five-minute motorbike ride and was then given a hundred dollars for a second visit to the Prosecution and on that second visit, in fact, on both of those visits he admitted that he hadn't even told the Prosecution the truth when he'd seen them on those two visits.

And yet, he didn't even know what the money was for. He told this Court, in August of 2008, that he received in June 2006, $100 on one occasion. Bear in mind that, of course, by that time he's also in the care of the witness service. He received a hundred dollars from the Prosecution. "They gave me money, the money, I accepted it, I didn't know what it was for. I knew it was for the same transport purpose but for the meantime I took this amount of money, I can't remember what it was for."

And he went on to say when his actual expenditure was analysed in the course of cross-examination, he went on to accept that he'd made a $90 profit on that particular occasion. Now, just pause there for a moment. What is $90, US dollars, worth to a Liberian or a Sierra Leonean, your average Liberian or Sierra Leonean, when in Sierra Leone your average decent hotel receptionist earns roughly about $88 a month? What is $90 pure profit, not subject to tax, worth in the hand of someone in one of those countries?

Regularly, this man was being paid these round sums, and we see these round sums all the time, the evidence is littered with examples of round sums. Only occasionally will you actually see 97,000 leones or $28.50 or some obviously specific expenditure. Most of the time they are round sums. And inevitably, we submit, inevitably, those round sums represent not just the cost to the witness, but a reward for attending. Even, in our submission, even the most innocent and impartial witness is bound to feel a sense of obligation to the party paying him or her money of that sort, particularly when the money is being paid regularly and in some cases over a period of years.

And indeed sticking with 375, he also said that, on one occasion, when returning from a trip from one country to the neighbouring country, for which he was paid $200, he was given an additional $100, which he said was an appreciation from the Prosecution for him to use for his family.

Well, what, I ask rhetorically, is an appreciation, if it's not a gift?

He is also a witness who described - or agreed that the $50 that he was paid for, in effect, crossing the road, he agreed that - sorry, he took the view that that wasn't enough.

Now, how does the Court assess the impact of that sort of payment, or those sorts of payments, on witnesses? It is, in our submission, inevitable that it is going to have an effect on the witness, and where you find, as you will have seen in his evidence, where you find that there are a number of inconsistencies in the evidence of the witness, a number of brand-new pieces of evidence coming out, a number of wholly implausible pieces of evidence from the witness, in our submission you will be driven to the conclusion that by coming out with all of this additional evidence, all of which of course hostile to Mr Taylor, the accused, you will be driven to the conclusion, we say, that the financial benefits have had an impact, whether desired or not, on the testimony of the witness. And in his case, I need give you no better example than something that he said about a witness who was involved in the killing of Sam Bockarie. Now, I'm being very careful in the way in which I phrase this: That witness told you -

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