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Liberia news

Court denies robbery convict treatment abroad

Criminal Court “D” that is responsible to hear armed robbery cases at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia has denied a motion filed by convicted armed robber Frederick R. Walker to allow him seek medication abroad.

Court “D” presiding by Judge Sikajipo A. Wollor ruled here Wednesday, 21 December that while the court at times could be in sympathy with defendants, such sympathy does not, and cannot “exceed the interest of our corpus jurisdiction.”
The Court determined that “to do so will automatically be considered as the usurpation of the function of the other branch of government, which is the Executive,” hence, denying the motion.
Prosecutors had argued that despite defendant Walker’s injuries sustained in 2013, he engaged in criminal acts, specifically armed robbery and criminal conspiracy for which he was adjudged guilty by the court and sentenced to seven years prison term.
The prosecution says the convict’s request to get medical treatment abroad was not lawful, telling the court that it lacked jurisdiction to hear such motion to issue any order releasing the prisoner from serving his full term.
“… [And] that the only person empowered to release the prisoner at this stage is the President of the Republic of Liberia, who can exercise Executive power by granting clemency or reprieve to the prisoner”, the prosecution argued.
The State concluded that the Ministry of Justice cannot, and will not release the prisoner unless the President of the Republic of Liberia orders an executive clemency. After being sentenced at the end of the case, defendant Walker filed the motion for consideration to seek medical treatment abroad in the ongoing November Term of Court.
In the six-count motion, defendant Walker explained how he was involved in a motor accident while he still a free man and “apparently inflamed some vessels of his body from which he never
fully recovered until he got imprisoned in 2015.”

His lawyers said with the manifestation of his ailment in the form of recurrent profuse blood flow [from] his nose and mouth, the Justice Ministry here has tried to manage the situation by taking him to
hospital before trial and at least three times after his conviction, but to no avail.
The convict’s motion indicates that he has been treated at the government referral hospital John F. Kennedy Medical Center which he says “has been treating to the best of their abilities”, but yielded “little
or no positive result” to the extent that the hospital … has recommended that he seeks advanced medical treatment.
Defense lawyers are claiming that such advanced treatment that is being sought is not available in Liberia, thus compelling them to file the motion for consideration from the Ministry of Justice and the court to have him receive the required treatment for the preservation of his life.
“Movant says that because his life hangs in the balance as per the report and information from the JFK Medical Center, and the fact that his sentence is not death but imprisonment in order for him to become a better constituent of the Liberian society … he beseeches the Court and the Ministry of Justice to view his medical condition as a compelling reason for which consideration should be given to the end that Movant’s life may be preserved,” the convict has pleaded.

Editing by Jonathan Browne

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