Witness Becomes Temporarily Speechless in Belgian’s Murder Trial

first_imgDrama unfolded at the murder trial of Michel Bruno, a Belgian national, at the Criminal Court ‘A’ when a prosecution witness became temporarily confused.Moses H. Kermue, prosecution’s third witness stood speechless in the box for a few minutes before denying having knowledge that the defendants shot   Bruno, then Plantation Manager of Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC).Kermue is a senior officer of LAC’s Plant Protection Division (PPD).He was the only person cross examined by defense counsel.The defendants are charged with murder for allegedly shooting and killing Bruno on November 17, 2010 at LAC’s 3.3 extension site in District #3 Grand Bassa County. They have since denied the allegation levied against them.Testifying on Tuesday, April 8, the third witness caused a stir when he consistently asserted that he did not know whether the defendants murdered Bruno, alleging he heard the information from reliable sources in the employ of LAC. His vehement denials, even under questioning by his own lawyer, raised eyebrows.Witness Kermue could not disclose the name of his reliable sources.He refused a suggestion from prosecution lawyers, who asked him to point at the defendants in the box that were arrested in connection to Bruno’s death.“As I said previously, on November 17, 2010, I was not on the scene, and I can’t identify any of the defendants in the box who were arrested in connection with the murder of Bruno.”To the question as to whether he was aware that the defendants upon their arrest were investigated at the PPD’s headquarters in LAC, Kermue answered: “I was not there when they (defendants) were investigated at the headquarters. What I can say is I only heard that information, but I have no knowledge about it.”Earlier, Kermue explained that the day before Bruno was shot and killed, the chief of PPD, Major Garfe E. Mason, drove to his house and took him to LAC’s extension site to protect the company’s workers that had gone there to survey the land.“When we got there, we saw the surveying team headed by the late Bruno along with Alexander Peterson, Price Tawo, Matthew Daigar, Saye Yeasie and two PPD officers and we all moved to the bush together,” he added, “When we got into the bush the Surveyor began to clear the road and they started to plant their pegs.”According to him, while the survey was in process, they saw a group of men under the control of one of the defendants, Arthur Crusoe.“Crusoe asked us where we were coming from and we answered that we are from LAC Plantation. Crusoe then told us that he learnt LAC was about to conduct a survey in the district. He said this was the reason, we have declared this day as a holiday in our area. LAC has been fooling us this time around, LAC is not going to fool us. In fact, I am going to let the government to know about this,” witness Kermue quoted defendant Crusoe as saying.“It was at this time,” the witness alleged “that a lady I couldn’t recognize in the group turned to one of the surveyors, the late James Myers, and said, “James, I know you very well, don’t be part of these people again.”“After that statement, we immediately left the area,” the prosecution witness further alleged. In an hour-long cross-examination, which was not different from the questions and suggestions posed to previous prosecution witnesses, Kermue’s response to most of them were negative. The prosecution declined to continue with his examination.The case continues.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

It’s Alive! – Visiting a Certified Living Building

first_imgLocation, location, locationBill mentioned that many visitors to the lab talk about replicating the building in other regions, not realizing that the details of this building (like those of most buildings) are climate-specific. While I love the passive ventilation, the louvers don’t provide much in the way of insulation or air sealing, so they wouldn’t be very useful in most climate zones. The solar thermal cooling is a great idea, but it will only work in certain climates where there is enough of a daily temperature swing.This building is a great experiment, and the kids who use it are learning amazing lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives. It is not a building type that will work in most climates, but as a research facility, home to many building science experiments, and an example of seriously forward thinking, it is a great model for schools and professionals to aspire to. Geeking out in a living buildingLuckily, the day I was able to visit, Bill Wiecking, the lab director, was available. Bill spent quite a bit of time showing me around. I was a bit challenged to keep up with his rapid-fire explanations, but learned about many of the interesting features included in the building, as well as some of the challenges that they ran across.Probably the most interesting feature (to me, at least) was the solar thermal cooling system. Because the site has a dependable cycle of the diurnal temperature change, liquid that is pumped into the solar panels is cooled at night, stored in tanks, then run through fan-coil units to provide air conditioning during the day.Their passive ventilation system is elegant in its simplicity: manual louvers at waist level combine with electrically operated ones at the top of the building. Air flows up along the roof slope, limiting the amount air movement in the room while still providing necessary ventilation. The bottom louvers have a habit of closing on their own, so the students created simple blocks of wood to hold them open.The building is equipped with indoor and outdoor CO2 sensors to determine when ventilation is required. Instead of basing their ventilation on absolute CO2 concentrations indoors, they compare inside to outside to identify when indoor concentrations are high enough for ventilation. They originally ran their ventilation automatically, but reverted to manual controls to avoid over- or under-ventilating. Everyone has problemsBill and I did a bit of commiserating about our experiences fighting with mechanical engineers about HVAC system sizes, and trying hard to get contractors to do what you really want from them.He pointed out a set of ¾-inch copper lines that were installed instead of the 1-inch lines specified for the thermal cooling system. The smaller lines didn’t work and were ultimately abandoned in place when the properly sized ones were installed.Design and construction of the building were challenging, and building operation has been challenging, too. Doors to the offices and workrooms with individual minisplit air conditioning systems (used primarily for dehumidification) are often blocked open with the AC running. Behavior problems never stop being an issue, even in the best buildings.The CO2 sensors are costly and require frequent replacement. And one thing I noticed was the significant quantity of cobwebs throughout the building. Spiders must love how the passive ventilation brings loads of insects right into their webs. While they don’t cause any problems, the webs detract from the look of the building. Cleaning them is likely an ongoing project, sort of like painting the Golden Gate bridge.center_img On vacation in Hawaii recently (yes, life is really tough for us consultants), I had the opportunity to visit the Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Energy Lab, the first classroom and the third building certified under the Living Building Challenge Program.I realize that when you live in paradise, it’s easier to build a net-zero energy and net-zero water use building, but the Energy Lab serves a greater purpose and, for those institutions that have the opportunity (and the money) to create facilities such as these, they can really help to advance sustainable building.The most interesting thing I gleaned from my visit was how engaged the students are in efficiency and building technology. These kids are learning about how buildings operate, and are in the process of auditing the rest of the campus to recommend improvements to be made.They are becoming what someone recently described to me as “sustainability natives.” Those who become architects, builders, or engineers will, unlike most current practitioners, have sustainable principles ingrained in their thinking. Today, green building practices are often an afterthought to most professionals. But as more people grow up understanding the value of high-performance construction, sustainability will be fully integrated into their thinking and their work when they become practitioners. RELATED ARTICLES Yes, the Living Building Challenge is OverreachingEarly Lessons from the Living Building ChallengeAmerica’s Greenest Office BuildingLiving Building Challenge 2.0 ReleasedFirst Living Building Challenge Projects certifiedlast_img read more