Bong County Attorney Jonathan Flomo has criticized the outgoing Judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit Court, Judge Karboi Nuta for releasing eight rape suspects in the County without a single trail.The Bong County’s Chief Prosecutor said the release of the suspects is a violation of Liberia Criminal Procedure Law.
Judge Karboi Nuta, was assigned at the 9th Judicial Circuit Court for the February A D Term of Court in the County.The Attorney said under the laws of Liberia, there are two instances where criminal defendants can be released without trial, adding Chapter 18, Section 18.1 (Dismissal by Prosecuting Attorney), and Section 18.2 (Dismissal by Court for Failure to Proceed).”
Attorney Flomo at the same time quoted, Section 18.2 of the criminal procedure law as saying that the state must be given the opportunity to show ‘good cause’ why the defendant should not be released, noting that in the case of the suspects, the state did not receive a motion for “failure to proceed’’ filed by the defense or a motion from the court through a notice that the case had been assigned for hearing.
Attorney Flomo who is also a Dean of the Bong County Bar Association said he is not opposed to the suspects’ being release, but the court should follow the law.
“I received a released document on March 26, 2020, from the sheriff’s office for the release of the 8 pre-trial detainees who had been indicted. When I received the notice, I met with Judge Nuta and I appealed to him (Judge Nuta) not to release these suspects,” Flomo said.
According to the State prosecutor, he informed Judge Nuta that several defendants agreed to confess in court in a plea-bargain trail.
But contrary to his plea, he was surprised when he learned on April 14, 2020, that the eight suspects who had been indicted on rape, a non-billable offense under the law, were being released by Judge Nuta. He said a suspect identified as Junior Flomo who was charged for raping his grandmother, mother, and a one-week-old baby and her mother was among eight pre-trial detainees that were released by Judge Nuta.
Additionally, Attorney Flomo said the Judge was in error to release the 8 suspects, on the ground that if you read Chapter 25, Section 25.3 of the amended judicial law, all sexual offenses should be heard in the Sexual Offenses Division of the Ninth Circuit Court of Bong County, not the circuit court.
It can be recalled that Judge George C. Katakpah was appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia as Resident Judge of the Sexual Offenses Division of the 9th Judicial Circuit in Bong County and was subsequently confirmed by the Senate and Commissioned.
Meanwhile, Attorney Flomo revealed that he has filed a former complaint to the Ministry of Justice on the illegal action of Judge Nuta. However, efforts by the NewDawn Bong Correspondent to contact the accused Judge Nuta proves fruitless, as his phone rang endlessly without answer and later switched off..
By: Joseph Titus Yekeryan