A judge at the Temple of Justice has frowned on lawyers who see the legal profession as a means of accumulating wealth. “It is saddened to note over the years and even now that many of our colleagues believe that they have been called into this profession to accumulate wealth, such as building houses and other properties no matter how and by what means they get them to the point that they would baffle justice and leave others in tears”, Judge Roosevelt Z. Williesaid Monday, 8 May in Monrovia.
Delivering a charge at the opening of the May 2017 Term of Court at Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill, Judge Willie warned his colleagues that they cannot be dispensing justice and be corrupt and partial.
Citing a report by the International Crisis Group or ICG submitted to the international community in April 2006, Judge Willie says it captured Liberia’s justice system as being one of the root causes of the nation’s civil crisis.
He argues that judges are called to serve and administer justice and not for personal gains to the detriment of party litigants.
Before delivering the charge, Judge Willie first began by reflecting on how few weeks ago a lady informed him of how a judge had made some astonishing remarks to her in the unnamed judge’s chambers along with some members of the justice system.
According to Judge Willie, the unnamed lady narrated that to her astonishment, the judge in whose chambers she had gone had made astonishing remark to a member of the justice system who had acted professionally, saying “Oh! You don’t want to build your own house?” “Sit down”!
Also giving his own experience, Judge Willie narrated how about a month ago a member of the National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia had acted against the loan policy of the association, and bravely told the association President in person of Judge Willie that the money taken was not meant to eat sweet but to build his (taker’s) house.
“We cannot be dispensing justice and be partial; We cannot be dispensing justice and be corrupt; We cannot be dispensing justice and deliberately delay cases; We cannot be dispensing justice and baffle justice; We cannot be dispensing justice and be ignorant of the laws; We cannot be dispensing justice and not be conscious of time …”, Judge Willie warns.
Having suggested that service and justice are intertwined and both require honesty, integrity, impartiality and fairness, Judge Willie further warned that judges must realize these virtues and exercise them in their day to day interactions with party litigants.
He says they are the cornerstones of sustaining the peace Liberia now has, “if we” do not wish to revert to the ugly past. “In other words, we are called to service and to administer justice to those who are aggrieved and do not wish to take the laws into their own hands”, he concludes.-Edited by Othello B. Garblah