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Editorial: When a lawyer becomes a lawbreaker

A physical assault of any kind is an infraction of the law regardless of who is the aggressor or who is victimized, as it occurred recently in Harper City, Maryland County, when an acting stipendiary magistrate assaulted a city solicitor, leaving him with a broken nose, unfortunately.

It sounds like a paradox when a member of a breed of professionals, who in this case, is a lawyer, charged with the responsibility of hearing and settling disputes between and among parties in court would become so brutal to his fellow workmate but bursting his nose over what could have been amicably resolved without a fight.

But this is actually what occurred recently when the acting stipendiary magistrate of the Harper City Magisterial Court in Maryland County, His Honor, Dweh T. Morgan, in breach of the law that he took oath to apply, physically assaulted city solicitor Nyusun B. Tweh, of the Harper City Magisterial Court, bursting his nose over the latter’s alleged refusal to release a pre-trial detainee, who has spent more than a year in detention without trial, which is also a violation of the law.

But two wrongs, as every ordinary man knows, do not make a right. No one should have known better than His Honor, Magistrate Dweh T. Morgan. But he chose to put the rule of law aside and exert his muscle on his city solicitor Nyusun B. Tweh in defense of a pre-trial detainee.

It is not only unfortunate but a serious disgrace to the Judiciary of Liberia that lawyers would leave their chambers and get in the boxing ring to settle scores in a public glare characterized by brutality and physical injury.

Where is the rule of law that they should be applying? Who else is charged with this responsibility apart from lawyers who are qualified by training to execute said duty?

The unfortunate incident in Harper, Maryland County brings the Liberian judiciary to closer view and serious public disrepute. The issue involving prolonged detention of pre-trial detainees is plaguing the entire justice system of Liberia, and not unique to the magisterial court of Maryland alone.

The Liberian Judiciary must address this because it violates the right of detainees awaiting trial that never takes place. Detainees are constrained to linger behind bars endlessly unless perhaps the president grants executive clemency.

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Both Magistrate Dweh T. Morgan and City Solicitor Nyusun B. Tweh could have found common ground on this matter rather than fistfight, resulting in serious injury that may leave a permanent scar on the victim that he would have to live with for the rest of his life.

Therefore, we call the attention of the Judiciary to such unwarranted violence, especially involving people that the entire nation relies on to adjudicate cases and dispense justice to maintain calm and stability.

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