Wife of Jailed Liberian Warlord Charles Taylor Freed on a Technicality By UK Judge

The wife of Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor is set to walk free after a judge in London ruled she could not be prosecuted under English law.

In June 2017 Agnes Reeves Taylor, who had been working as a university lecturer, was arrested at her home in Dagenham in east London and charged with eight counts of torture dating back to 1990.

One of the charges related to the torture of an individual who was only 13 at the time, and another relates to the torture of a “pastor’s wife” who was tied up and forced to witnessing the shooting of her two children.

​​Crucially the charges were brought under section 134(1) of Britain’s Criminal Justice Act 1988, which governs the conduct of a “person acting in an official capacity”, such as a government official. 

Judge Ruled Rebels Were Not ‘Exercising Government Function’

At the time rebels from Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) had conquered most of the north of the country and set up their headquarters at Gbarnga, deep in the interior and location of each thing  

In his ruling on Friday, 6 December, Judge Nigel Sweeney QC said: “My decision was a close run thing…I have asked myself…where there is sufficient evidence…upon which a jury could properly conclude that at the time and location of each offence the NPFL was exercising governmental function in the relevant area. In my view the answer, in each instance, is clearly in the negative.”

The conflict was based on…

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