Circuit Judge Wants Judges Uphold Court Value -Urges M’land Judges to Exercise Integrity

MONROVIA: As part of effort in dispensing free, fair and transparent justice, the resident Judge of the fourth Judicial Circuit Court in Southeastern Liberian City of Harper City in Maryland County, Judge Nelson T. Tokpa has called on judges and magistrates within his circuit to uphold and maintain the code value of judicial independent and reminded court actors, rallying to as well judicial staff maintain and uphold the integrity of all courts at all time.

He made the statement in his charge during the official opening of the court for resumption of business transactions on Tuesday January 13, 2024.

The fourth Judicial Circuit Judge also cautioned judges and magistrates to ensure that they operate within the confines of their respective jurisdictions, as he made a clarion call for integrity in the administration of justice.

The terms of the application of integrity by judicial actors, Judge Tokpah defined the application of as a holistic concept that referred to the ability of individual members of the judiciary to resist practices of all forms that are not conformity with the rule of law, stating that he expects full respect of the code value of independence, impartiality, personal integrity, equality, competence and diligence which, he said, are judicial conduct in the day to day operation of our courts.

Judge Nelson T. Tokpa also told citizens of his jurisdiction that independent and effective justice system that protects human rights facilitate access to all, and provides for transparent objective recourse, is a code value that must be observed and upheld by judges and magistrates, including all judicial actors at all times in the operation of our court systems.

The fourth judicial circuit resident judge maintains that a strong justice mechanism lies in its essential contribution to promoting economic stability and growth, and enabling all manners of disputes resolutions within a well-structured and orderly framework of the law and statutory provisions.

He also pointed out that these principles applied not only to members of the judiciary but also to prosecutors of the Justice Ministry throughout the county and the country at large, including judicial administrators.

A criminal prosecution characterized by a lack of independence or capacity is unable to effectively investigate criminal cases, including corrupt practices in the system of government as a result undermine the overall effectiveness of the State’s effort to fight and minimize crimes, the judge said.

He also encouraged would-be jurors to uphold the high integrity of judicial independence, impartiality and confidence during their deliberation thereby resisting all forms of unlawful practices or acts that may defeat the overall objective of the courts.

His Honor, Judge Tokpa disclosed that the docket of the February Term of Court in the coming days will be hearing cases on a case by case basis, saying that eleven criminal cases are on docket for this Term of Court.

The cases, he noted, include two statutory rape cases, one aggravated assault, one theft of property, misapplication of entrusted property, one violation of PPCC law, one habeas corpus, two appeal and one criminal facilitation.

Making a special remark on behalf of the prosecution, Maryland County attorney Philip G. Wheagar urged all justice actors to act in accordance with the law of Liberia, and that they should know the functions and role of the various courts.

The County Attorney also called on justice actors to bear little patience in this Term of Court, noting that they may likely not hear criminal cases.

Also speaking at the formal opening of the court, former prosecuting lawyer and public defender, Cllr. Joshua G. K. Odoi said jurisdiction is a cardinal thing because the laws ask courts to recognize their jurisdiction, even if the party litigants are not aware.

Meanwhile, the Independent Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) Maryland Chapter boss Boniface Nyama said pretrial detainees at the Harper Central Prison have spent over three terms of courts behind iron bars without appearing in court for trial, something he said is a complete violation of the rights of the detainees.

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