Assigned Circuit Judge For Gbarpolu County Debunks Report That The Judiciary Is Corrupt

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The Assigned Circuit Judge for Gbarpolu County for the May A.D. 2024 Term of Court, His Honor Wesseh Alphonsus Wesseh, have come in defense of the Liberian Judiciary, in the wake of mounting allegations that the Liberian Judiciary is corrupt.

Speaking on Monday, May 13, 2024, while delivering his charge at the former opening of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court in Bopulu City, Gbarpolu County, for the May 2024 Term of Court, Judge Wesseh stated how the Liberian Judiciary has been brought into the spotlight, by individuals on account of the quality of ruling and decision made by Judges and the Court. He said whenever a judge interprets a law, the way he sees it, at time, he is lambasted by party litigants and or the general public; whenever they feel dissatisfied;   or a judge is praised   by party litigants and or the general public, whenever the general public is satisfied with his or her ruling”.

Judge Wesseh also  blasted those he referred to as street jurors,  back  benchers, internet bloggers, who  he said do not understand the  rudiment of the laws,  but   continue  to sit in their corners by   condemning   the courts , whenever  a judge  or a court makes  a determination  in a case that does not favor them.

During the opening ceremony witnessed by members of the Gbarpolu Bar Association and the newly inducted Superintended of Gbarpolu, Mr. Sam Zinneh, Judge Wesseh noted that while Article 64 of the 1986 Constitution places judges under a protective custody; and a judge’s decision or ruling is discretional, a judge’s decision or ruling must be premised on the judge’s understanding of the applicable law.

He also noted that  while balancing these acts, a judge must always endeavor to consider himself/herself as a public official, who is serving the society/community he lives in,  hence, a judge  must  be cognizant that he  is in a privilege  position and  not to  abuse his description, when  giving effect to the law.  He noted that a  judge who interprets the law without fear or favor will normally have a good sleep, but a judge who interprets   a law in a zigzag manner will normal have a sleepless night” and said that a  judge is not to please any party litigant and or the general public by the decisions or rulings made, but to make a conscious decision and or ruling believing that the law will stand by him.

Judge Wesseh, a former senior prosecutor, said he was shocked when some members of the National Legislature were quoted to have called for the impeachment of a judge on account of ruling made by that judge.  He said by instituting an impeachment proceedings against a judge on account of a ruling made is tantamount to undermining the constitution of Liberia.

He then blame the National Legislature for not establishing procedures or processes for   Government or prosecution to appeal a judge’s not guilty verdict in a case; as enshrined in Article 20 of the 1986 Constitution, to allow the Ministry of Justice or Prosecution to appeal directly from a juror not guilty verdict or a judge’s acquittal verdict setting a defendant free and according to him  had the National Legislature established  a procedures  or processes for Prosecution to appeal directly from a verdict, no one would have accused the judge of wrongdoing.

He further that the National Legislature only prescribed two instances by which the government may instigate an appellate review; that is on Motion to dismiss a criminal indictment brought against a defendant and on a motion for judgment of acquittal granted in favor of the defendant, by a court after Prosecution has rested with evidence in case, citing Section 24.2(a)(b) and 24 .3(a0(b) of the Criminal Procedure law of Liberia.

He also said the crafters of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, distributed functions between and among the three branches of our Government. The fundament reason for the apportionment of constitutional function  according to Judge Wesseh was not to make a branch, more powerful over the other two branches of the government,  and said these shared power are inherent and cannot be usurped, even though according to him, they  are imbued in a system of check and balance, which is purely doctrinal  and  on policy issues”.

Judge Wesseh statement came after the Liberian Judicial was recently brought into the spotlight after Judge Nelson Chinneh acquittal an American Citizen in Criminal Court B, when he found him  not guilty in the Jessica Lloyd’s case, which have  provoked  public angers and calls for  lawmakers to impeach  Judge Chinneh on account of his  recent ruling.

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