By Lincoln G. Peters
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Cllr. Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh has raised an alarm over the constant abuse of Section 13.5 of the law by magistrates across the country.
Speaking Monday, 21 March 2022 during the opening of the Civil Law Courts’ March Term of Court, Justice Yuoh appealed to magistrates across the country to do the right thing, adding that when the law is properly used, you can never go wrong.
According to her, due to the several complaints they continue to receive from the public against magistrates, the Chief Justice continues to pursue the Magistrate Sitting Program at the Central Prison because there are still people incarcerated there without bond.
“The application of 13.5 is being abused on a daily basis by magistrates across the country. The law is clear as to the application of Section 13.5. You have to release the person to someone who has influence over them,” Justice Yuoh noted.
She continued that it’s clear that you cannot release a person to his mother or somebody that they do not respect, cautioning magistrates to stay in the confine of the law to reduce prison crowding.
“You are finally aware that the Supreme Court has not hesitated in bringing down punishment against judges and magistrates deviating from the law. Let us govern ourselves properly,” Justice Yuoh warned the magistrates.
Meanwhile, Justice Yuoh has disclosed that the court is seeing a high degree of collaboration between the Executive and the Supreme Court and the Trial Judges Association, leading to an agreement to put back on the salary of judges and justices that were taken from them in violation of the Constitution.
She said the agreement was reached due to the advocacy and the case filed by the Trial Judges Association which was alarmed over the reduction and cut in the salaries of judges, and justices across the country.
She added that the benefits and salaries of judges and justices should not be diminished except what the Constitution provides.
“The benefits and salaries of judges and justices can only be reduced by policy enacted by the Legislature. The reduction of justices’ and judges’ salaries is not what the Constitution anticipated,” she stated.