Griffiths to take legal action on charges
THOUGH he is out of the country, British national Ian Charles Griffiths isn’t taking the homicide charges filed against him by Cebu prosecutors sitting down.
Rameses Villagonzalo, the lawyer of Griffiths’s Cebuana partner Bella Ruby Santos, said a firm of lawyers in London is processing the International Writs at the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in England.
He said the writs will be served on key public officials through diplomatic channels.
Villagonzalo said they won’t identify the persons who will receive the writs nor the amounts of damages sought against them.
But he said they may include elected and appointed officials.
Villagonzalo said the total damages Griffiths sought could exceed £10 million (P68 million).
The lawyer said the allegations against the couple remain unsubstantiated.
These include the alleged payments made to an officer of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Visayas (CIDG-7) who allegedly tipped off Santos on the police’s search for her whereabouts.
Also included were accusations regarding Santos’ offer of P500,000 to witnesses to recant their testimony.
“If those making these allegations believed they would entice Ian Griffiths to travel to Cebu so that he could file libel and defamation cases against them, then they have made a complete miscalculation,” Villagonzalo said in a press release.
Defense lawyers also opposed the proposal to allow the use of live-link televisions for child witnesses during trial against Santos and Griffiths.
“We believe that actual examination of the witnesses can help us explore better the truth,” said lawyer Julius Caesar Entice.
He said that if the child witnesses will stay inside the chamber when they testify, there is a chance that they will be coached by their two guardians who ought to accompany them.
The prosecution said they just want to make sure that the two minors will be comfortable when they testify in court.
They said the witnesses may be traumatized during intense questioning from either counsels.
But Entice said defense lawyers need to cross-examine the witnesses face to face.
Regional Trial Court Judge Ester Veloso of Branch 6 scheduled a hearing on the prosecution’s request to allow the use live-link televisions during trial today.
If the live-link trial will be approved by the court, the two minors will testify inside the court chamber while the judge, lawyers, accused, and spectators will stay inside the courtroom.
In Cebu City, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 22 possess the facilities, which were donated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (formerly United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund).
Santos and Griffiths are facing charges of kidnapping with homicide in relation to the death of 6-year-old Ellah Joy Pique.
Ellah was kidnapped outside the Calajo-an Elementary School in Minglanilla town last Feb. 8.
Her body was found dead off a ravine in Barili town, south Cebu the following day.
Santos was arrested last Oct. 7 while Griffiths remains at large. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol
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