Judge Peabody, Magistrate Siryon Entangle over Release of 5 Defendants in US$280K Theft Case

Judge Kennedy Peabody of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Bomi County

Claims and counterclaims between Judge Kennedy Peabody of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Bomi County and Magistrate Jefferson Siryon of the Magisterial Court in the county have rendered the US$280,000 criminal case, brought by Horizon Company against five defendants, including a Ghanaian national, doubtful of rearresting any of the defendants. 

The defendants were released without posing any bond, as requested in cases of such magnitude.

The incident occurred in May 2021 and four of the five defendants remain at large, while only Abdul Razak Kawarnu, a Ghanaian national, has been rearrested. Kawarnu was of those released by Magistrate Siryon without any bond.

Magistrate Siryon took the decision shortly after the defendants were transferred to the court by the Bomi County police detachment that charged them with multiple crimes including theft of property.

The matter sparked up when the Horizon Company, who on numerous occasions had gone to the court for the start of the case, only to be informed about the absence of the defendants, some of whom Magistrate Siryon released to their lawyer, Attorney Nkrumah Tiekay of the Tulay and Associate Law Offices, while others were released to their family members.

Later, Magistrate Siryon decided to take the issue to Judge Peabody. 

Even though the money involved is beyond the jurisdiction of the magisterial court, Siryon released the defendants on mutual understanding for them to appear whenever they are needed by the court. But the lawyer and the family members of the respective defendants are yet to ensure their appearance up to now. 

Despite first handling the case and releasing the defendants without any bond, Magistrate Siryon claimed that since the matter was above the jurisdiction of his court, he has so far transferred the case file to Judge Peabody -- surprisingly without any of the defendants -- resulting in Peabody denying any knowledge about the proceedings.

In a swift response when he was contacted by the Daily Observer Newspaper, Judge Peabody asked this reporter if he has any documentary evidence that the judge instructed any of his court staff like the sheriff (court officer) to arrest any of the defendants.

“Do you have any documentary evidence that the sheriff of the circuit court arrested any defendants and I ordered them released,” Peabody asked the reporter, who did not have any documents that Judge Peabody signed, but managed to display the case file that includes Magistrate Siryon’s release of the defendants unto their family members and Abdul Razak Kawarnu to his lawyer.

Peabody reiterated that he did not release any defendants, but it was a defense lawyer, Tiekay, who brought a complaint to him, the judge, against Magistrate Siryon.

Judge Peabody claimed that Tiekay complained that Magistrate Siryon released the defendants to him, Atty Tiekay, and later Siryon changed his mind and held him (Tiekay) in contempt.

Tiekay, Judge Peabody claimed, wrote Magistrate Siryon asking for postponement of the matter because he, Tiekay, was at the time sick and hospitalized. 

“So I simply asked Magistrate Siryon to give the lawyer three days to file a proper bond,” Judge Peabody said.  

Defendants, Isaac Kollie, Abdul Razak Kawarnu (the Ghanaian national), Bobby Dunor, Amos Sando and Abraham Adams, were arrested and charged by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) assigned to Bomi County in connection to the scrapping of a D-8 Yellow Machine valued at US$280,000 that was parked in Malama Town, Senjeh District, Bomi County, belonging to the Horizon Company based in Monrovia.