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Liberia news

Mob justice becoming rampant

-Judge denounces lawlessness

The Resident Circuit Judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit, River Gee County, Cllr. George W. Smith has condemned ‘anarchists and lawless people who violently attack the police, damage or destroy government properties paid for by taxpayers.

Delivering a charge at the opening of the February Term of Court in the county, Judge Smith said mob justice is now becoming rampant, and uncontrollable in Liberia.

“Unfortunately, mob justice is now becoming rampant, uncontrollable in our country. Individuals suspected of wrongdoings are extra-judicially punished by being beaten and even killed by vigilantes or a crowd,” he said. 

“These anarchists and lawless people also violently attack the police, peace officers, damage or destroy Government properties paid for by taxpayers,” he added.

But he cautioned the citizenry that the law in Liberia, like in other civilized countries, is that when a crime is suspected to have been committed, it is the police that investigates whether a crime was indeed committed. 

When the police determine that a crime is committed, he said, they then investigate who committed the crime. 

“When the investigation determines who committed the crime, that person is charged by the police and forwarded to court for trial.”

After trial, he said if that person is found guilty, the court then imposes a penalty by the law.

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In the interest of a safe, ordered, and peaceful society, and to encourage economic investment and develop our country, among other things, Judge Smith noted that those who go on the rampage beating and killing suspected wrongdoers… must be speedily tried for their crimes. 

Additionally, Judge Smith frowned against high-level government officials who disrespect and disregard adherence to the rule of law and think they are above the law.

“The contemptuous disrespect and dishonoring of courts’ precepts by Government officials are not only an abuse of governmental powers and privileges, but these undermine the rule of law, [and] tarnish our country’s image,” Judge Smith warned.

He added that it discourages economic investments and sabotages national economic development and prosperity. 

“Who likes to invest in a society characterized by lawlessness? The constitutional and/or statutory immunity some of us officials of Government enjoy is intended for the benefit of effectively running the Government,” he continued. 

He said this immunity is not a personal benefit of those officials and it is not absolute.

He said under Articles 42 and 73 of the Constitution that immune lawmakers and judges from being summoned, arrested, and prosecuted, these same Articles subject them to be summoned, arrested, and prosecuted for felonies, like theft of property – a serious crime. 

“They can even be summoned, arrested, and prosecuted for breach of the peace, a misdemeanor – a less serious offense.”–Dispatch

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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