-Chief Justice rejects police chief’s statement
Liberia’s Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., has rejected a statement attributed to Police Inspector General Col. Patrick T. Sudue, who is said to have accused the courts here of causing problems in reference to releasing hardened criminals into the communities.
“The Courts are not causing problems. Even if there is a judge who has stepped out of line, that doesn’t constitute the judiciary,” Chief Justice Korkpor said at the Supreme Court Tuesday, 16 March before commencing a political case.
The Chief Justice’s comments came Tuesday after a local daily attributed a statement to Col. Patrick Sudue as saying that “The release of these criminals by the court is causing serious problems for the Police and the community.”
Col. Sudue is quoted as saying that one Kessely Mulbah was released by the court in the same way, when he came back in the community and allegedly killed a member of Kapaukapau night watch team in Kebbah.
According to the report, Col. Sudue stated that when Mulbah was again shot by the LNP anti-robbery squad in the leg, treated and sent back to the court, he was sent to South Beach prison.
But Chief Justice Korkpor explains that “even if there is a judge that steps out of line, that doesn’t constitute the judiciary,” arguing that a whole lot of good judges are here. He says everybody will not behave the way that the law says they should behave, admitting that “some step out of line.”
“But this is not the pattern of activities or decisions of the judiciary, the entire judiciary,” he says.
According to Chief Justice Korkpor, it was reported in a newspaper Tuesday, 16 March that the courts are causing problem.
“This statement is attributed to the Police Director. [If] you read it, it has no reference, whatsoever to the high court or even some of the other courts. I think the reference is to one particular judge who is alleged to have released hardening criminal,” he narrates.
But Chief Justice Korkpor wonders how this can be that the courts are the ones causing problems, saying when he got the information and read it in the paper, he tried to commence an investigation.
“We will have full scale investigation, the Ministry of Justice will be represented, the judge will be there,” he says.
Chief Justice Korkpor indicates that when judges take decisions, there is reason. According to Chief Justice Korkpor, when someone is put in jail and the person remains there perpetually without trial, their rights are violated.
He expresses concerning that local and international human rights groups are watching the system, and the public defenders here are authorized under the laws to file motions in appropriate cases for the release of people who are in detention beyond statutory period.
According to Chief Justice Korkpor, when you see that happening, it means that the legal system is working. He notes that it’s the government that prays for the writ for people to go to jail, saying if the court for good reason releases that person, it means the justice system is working.
By Winston W. Parley