The head for Public Defenders in Nimba County Cllr. Robertson P. Mehn, alarms over the wave of fake lawyers in all 18 magisterial counts in the county.
He says there are people calling themselves Public Defenders, when they are not.
Cllr. Mehn discloses that the Government of Liberia officially assigned only two Public Defenders to Nimba, but people are impersonating as lawyers under the group, paralegal.
Speaking Monday at the opening of the May Term of Court in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, he laments that those fake lawyers are usually involved with extorting huge money from clients before they can represent them in court.
Cllr. Mehn describes the act as unlawful, and calls on the public not to do business with such individuals.He reveals that one such impersonator recently wrote a magistrate, claiming that Cllr. Robertson P. Mehn sent him, but was book in the process.
Cllr. Mehn clarifies that as Public Defender, he does not have power to appoint anyone to represent clients in a court, noting that authority lies with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
He says those people are misleading the court and courts across Nimba should not allow them to practice before them.Cllr. Mehn also clarifies that there are no public defenders in magisterial courts except in circuit courts where this service is practiced.
At the same time, he complains of lack of vehicles to tour all 18 magisterial courts in the county, noting that they are constrained to transport themselves each time to represent clients during proceedings.
The Nimba Public Defender appeals to government to provide vehicles to enhance their work.
Speaking of over crowdedness at the Sanniquellie Prison Compound, Cllr. Mehn suggests the only way to addressing congestion is to visit the facility and place suspects on bonds under which they may be re-arrested and brought back to the jurisdiction of the court.
He says most of the suspects have been in jail for over three years without appearing in court because of failure of complainers to pursue their cases in court.
Meanwhile, he calls for the opening of Court E that was built months back to fast track rape cases in the county, disclosing that a total of 73 cases are on the docket, 29 of them rape-related.
For his part, the Resident Judge of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court Roland F. Dahn, says since he took office in February, the docket contains a total of 201 cases, including 108 civil cases and 73 criminal cases.
Judge Dahn explains that of the 201 civil cases, 73 involve real property cases, while the rest are general cases such as contracts and divorce, among others.
He continues that the criminal docket includes sexually related cases followed by murder/manslaughters, aggravated assault and drugs related offences, among others. By Thomas Domah/Nimba–Editing by Jonathan Browne