‘Abandon Signature Fees’

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    Cllr. James C. R. Flomo, public defender coordinator, has frowned on judges’ action to collect signature and other fees from defense counsels, claiming it undermines access to justice.

    “We need to ensure that this practice is halted in our jurisprudence, because, we, public defenders are representing poor people,” Cllr. Flomo stressed on Monday, February 10, when he responded to Judge Ceaineh D. Clinton-Johnson of Criminal Court ‘E’ charged to public defender and state lawyers.

    The charged was delivered at the Joint formal opening of Criminal Courts; A, B, C, D and E, at the Temple of Justice,

    A Public Defender is a government paid lawyers, with the specific purpose of providing legal assistance and representation to poor people, free of charge.

    Cllr. Flomo further insisted that, “You know this public defender program restrict us not to collect fees for the services we rendered to destitute people.”

    “It is too much for us, we have been using our little salary to settle these fees on behalf of our clients. We are not prepared to do this anymore,” the Public Defender head pleaded.

    “Then, where do you expect us to get money to pay for these fees?” Cllr. Flomo wondered.

    He continued, “We are representing those who can’t afford to hire or pay lawyer to plea on their behalf.”

    According to judicial sources, public defender received a salary of US$1,500 monthly for the services rendered to party litigants.

    Earlier, in her charged at the Joint formal opening of  Criminal Courts; A,B,C,D and E, at the Temple of Justice, Judge Johnson said, “we, judges have watched with disdain, the strand of how defense counsel wait to rely  on prosecution mistakes to present their cases.”

    Furthered, “We want to inform you, defense counsel that this kind of action leaves our land, wanting for justice. And, you need to desist from these practices.”

    According to her, defense counsel waits to identify doubt and use it with the full knowledge and understanding of the challenges faced by the nation.

    “When lawyers speak so openly with resentment to position taken by the court, contrary to their views they claimed the judicial is corrupt.”

    They sometime exercise such impatient with the views of you been their opponents, if that happens, then, you are destroying our jurisprudence,” Judge Johnson disclosed.

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