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Crime & PunishmentGeneralLiberia news

Magistrate flogs city solicitor

-Over refusal to release a pretrial detainee

Lawyers throw blow, leaving one with a broken nose.

By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County

Maryland, Liberia, May 31, 2024—Lawyers are supposed to hear disputes between party litigants and render judgment in court, but when the referees themselves are locked in a boxing ring, as it happened in Harper Maryland County, Southeast Liberia, leaving a city solicitor with a broken nose, then it totally becomes something else.  

The acting stipendiary magistrate of the Harper City Magisterial Court, His Honor Dweh T. Morgan, is in the spotlight for no good reason other than allegedly assaulting city solicitor Nyusun B. Tweh of the Harper City Magisterial Court, bursting his nose.

Magistrate Morgan allegedly assaulted Solicitor Tweh for refusing to release a pretrial detainee at the Harper magisterial court.

The situation occurred following a heated argument between the two that resulted to a fistfight.

The suspect, whose name wasn’t disclosed, was taken to court on March 18, 2024, and the City Solicitor Tweh has been unable to persecute him for his crime.

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He was subsequently released, allegedly on orders of Magistrate Morgan, due to the prolonged delay in the prosecution. Surprisingly, City Solicitor Tweh rearrested the suspect and placed him under police custody, which angered the Magistrate and caused him to go to the police to provide clarity and secure his release for the second time.

He explained that since March 18, 2024, the suspect was sent to court, he has not been tried, emphasizing that it’s written in the law that pretrial detainees have jail delivery, and once a prosecutor failed to persecute, that person must be released from jail, and Solicitor Tweh knows the law but did not apply it.

The suspect’s actual crime was not disclosed. However, Magistrate Morgan further argued that the defendant had even asked for a preliminary examination, but the City Solicitor claimed the case was above the Magisterial Court’s jurisdiction, so the Magistrate shouldn’t have gone to the police station to inquire.

But Magistrate Morgan explained: “The law says this boy is entitled to jail delivery when you can’t persecute the case for good cause, you throw it out, and that was what I did. Then he went to the boy’s house to arrest him, telling me he would go for a watch forum to arrest the boy because I put him out.”

In response, Solicitor Tweh alleged that Magistrate Morgan went to the police station and threw his mobile phone away as he (Tweh) was instructing the police to re-arrest the suspect.

“So why explain the situation at the police station? Mr. Morgan came from my back and started slapping me, and I had my five hundred United States dollars (US$500) at the back of my phone park, and it got missing,” he narrated.

According to the city solicitor, Magistrate Morgan slapped him twice in the midst of people.

A video recording of the Magisterial by the City Solicitor shows how visibly angry Morgan was during the fistfight, which occurred in the presence of civil society activist Bokarti Norris and other citizens at the police station.

“This is shameful; how can a two statesman who should’ve interpreted the laws of our country jump in a fistfight? Anyway, this too is Liberia”, bystanders remarked. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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