Charloe Musu, niece of Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, former Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia met her ultimate demise on February 22, 2023, due to a reported break-in by an unknown individual into their home.
According to the Musu family, an unknown individual broke into their home and inflicted bodily injuries on Charloe. She was later rushed to the Redemption Hospital where she was pronounced dead upon arrival.
But according to the government’s indictment, the claim of armed attack is false and the body of the deceased was seen in the bathroom of the legal luminary.
Cllr. Scott and three family members have been indicted for murder, criminal conspiracy, making false statements to law enforcement, deliberately altering evidence, fabricating a false narrative, and showing a callous disregard for human life.
She has also been accused of using her legal expertise and criminal justice background to create a story that would shield her and the co-defendants from the murder accusations.
The deceased, who was a graduating senior of the private-run Starz Technology Institute (STARZ College), has been living with Cllr. Scott since age 11, from her biological parents, who reside in Maryland County.
A post-mortem examination or autopsy is a medical procedure that consists of the examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present.
It is performed by a specialized medical doctor. Forensic autopsies are autopsies performed to determine if death was an accident, homicide, suicide, or natural death.
The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice, and the Liberia National Police announced the post-mortem examination on the remains of Charloe.
The authorities said the post-mortem examination was done in autopsies, and toxicology samples were taken from the body of the 24-year-old to be analyzed to fully establish the actual cause of her death.
The authorities have vowed to bring the alleged perpetrator to justice.
Legal meaning of dead bodies:
The physical remains of a deceased person before they have completely decomposed are called dead bodies. Numerous statutes governing the disposition of deceased bodies have been passed by state legislatures.
Although the common law has long recognized the right to a respectable burial, there is no set standard for who possesses that right. Ordinarily, the surviving spouse or other members of the deceased’s family have the right to possess a dead person’s body for burial. 330 N.J. Super. 638 (Ch. Div. 1999); Sherman v. Sherman. However, a deceased body does not have an unrestricted property right.
The public’s interest, particularly its health, safety, and welfare, is heavily entwined with the issue of how the deceased should be disposed of.
Family demand Charloe Remise:
The late Musu’s family members asked the authorities to provide the body so it could be buried properly.
Both pro-government and anti-government parties were highly suspicious of her passing. The irony is that they are allegedly being denied access to the body for burial.
The family came from Maryland and requested their child’s body but they were denied by the government and they have to return.
Nathaniel Toe, the uncle of the deceased, said during a news conference that the family has asked the government to hand over the victim’s body.
Speaking to the Minister of Justice, Toe said, “Hon. Minister, the object of this request is to bury Charloe so that her body and remains will be finally laid to rest with the decency, dignity, honour, and respect she deserves and in keeping with our tradition and custom; considering the violent and gruesome nature of her death.”
According to Toe, the family has been requesting the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) publish the Coroner’s Report since February 27. This report is intended to look into and draw conclusions about unexpected, sudden, or suspicious deaths.
Can A Body Be Carried In Open Court?
Cllr. Taiwan Gongloe, a legal expert said “You cannot use dead bodies in court as evidence. What is used is the autopsy report.”
He said, “Why are they keeping the dead body? What kind of wickedness is this? This family lost their child, somebody killed their child and tears dried in their eyes. They don’t know how to mourn. This is clear persecution of the Musu family by this government; that’s not the rule of law, and I am saying it as a former solicitor general and assistant professor of criminal law and criminal procedural law. This is terrible, and nobody should accept it.”
Conclusion: No, dead body cannot be carried in open court as evidence but the autopsy report will aid the trial.