The Monrovia City Court has ordered the arrest of Cllr. Morris Massaquoi, for wrongfully persuading the court to release “without bail” a criminal defendant named Sylvester Rogers.
The Court's decision to arrest Massaquoi stemmed from his continued failure to surrender Rogers to the court despite repeatedly assuring the Stipendiary Magistrate of the Monrovia City Court, Ben Barco.
Rogers has been charged by the Ministry of Justice based on a complaint filed by Hans Armstrong, a British national, who accused the defendant of duping him of more than US$16,000 for the sale of planks that were situated in Grand Bassa County.
Barco issued the arrest order for Massaquoi and Rogers on August 23, after the court’s 24-hour ultimatum for the duo to appear to the court expired on August 23.
It is, however, unclear whether Rogers and Massaquoi have ever been arrested since the Court order was issued.
Massaquoi, in a handwritten note for the release of Rogers, assured Barco that, as guarantor, he would ensure his client's appearance at all court hearings, which has not been the case.
The Court, after issuing several assignment notices for the case hearing, and with Massaquoi unable to surrender Rogers, was compelled to issue an arrest order for both the lawyer and his client.
“This is to certify that I am the undersigned in person of Cllr. Morris Massaquoi, do hereby further guarantee or give assurance to the personal reconnaissance bond offered to the above-named defendant by the Monrovia City Court in the above-captioned case,” he wrote.
Massaquoi's delinquent attitude prompted Barco to hold him in contempt.
“The court will again tender mercy with justice and hereby order that the said bond be filed not less than 48 hours, upon which failure the clerk of court is ordered to prepare the necessary precept, place same in the hands of the sheriff, to have the defendant arrested.
“And, forthwith, and if the defendant cannot be found, his guarantor, who is also his lawyer in person of Cllr. Morris Massaquoi, be arrested and brought before the court to state the reason, if any, why he cannot be held in contempt of court,” Barco said in his contempt ruling on August 21.
Barco’s 24-hour ultimatum came and passed by without Massaquoi acting in contempt -- leading to the arrest order.
The current whereabouts of Rogers, however, remain uncertain. If he is not in the country, Massaquoi might face severe consequences, possibly leading to his incarceration.