Five high profile lawyers of the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm have been found guilty of contempt by the Monrovia City Court and fined L$10,000 each.
According to a writ of summons, the lawyers are Cllrs. G. Moses Paegar, Albert Sims, Cyril Jones, Frank Musa Dean and Golda Elliot.
On May 23, the court issued a Writ of Search and Seizure on the law firm, but when the ministerial officers of the court proceeded to conduct the search, the defendants, contrary to the rule of law and procedures, obstructed the court officers.
Senator Varney Sherman, Lead Counsel of the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm, along with E. C. B. Jones, Alex Tyler, Christopher Onanuga and Sable Mining INC were accused by a Global Witness May 11 report of alleged bribery involving over US$950.000 from the U.K-based Sable Mining company to change the mining laws of Liberia to enable it invest in Mt. Wologizi in Lofa County.
They were charged by the court for bribery, criminal conspiracy, economic sabotage, criminal solicitation and criminal facilitation.
Magistrate Kennedy Peabody noted in his ruling that the defendants were simply trying to protect the interest of their client, but noted that in so doing they should have known that they also owe the court greater responsibility.
He observed: “The defendants are not ordinary citizens or lawyers; they are so distinguished and held in high esteem in our society that whatever they do will directly or indirectly affect our society.”
Peabody reminded them that it is the court that gives respect to lawyers, and that “in the absence of respect for the court, lawyers are nothing, absolutely nothing.”
He noted that “the responsibility of lawyers is so sacred that we need not even do the simplest thing that will undermine the court.”
Meanwhile, Magistrate Peabody has ordered the five lawyers to pay their fines into government revenue and present the receipts to the sheriff of the court.