A group of Judges on Monday, May 12, fined two senior staffs of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) US$25 each for their refusal to attend the official opening of the May 2014 Term of Criminal Courts A, B, C and D for Montserrado County.
The two officials, Acting Minister of Justice, Cllr. Wheatonia Dixon Barnes, and the Solicitor General (SG) of Liberia, Cllr. Betty Lamin Blamo, have been given a three-day ultimatum to pay the fine into government revenue
The judges also fined some Magistrates of several other Magisterial Courts that refused to attend their opening ceremony.
“If the Justice Ministry officials fail to pay their fines within three days, they will not be allowed to practice law before any of the Criminal Courts,” Cllr. Nancy F. Sammy, Assigned Judge of Criminal Court ‘B’ for Montserrado County threatened on Monday, when she presided over the joint opening of the courts.
“They did not give any oral or written excuses about their absent at today’s ceremony, and we would not tolerate anybody including lawyers in the country to disrespect the Judiciary Branch of government,” Judge Sammy noted.
Besides, the Criminal Court Judge threatened to jail the magistrates for 15 days each, if they also failed to pay their fines within the given period.
“We will not consider any one of the magistrates that would not pay the fines. If they refused, we are going to order their incarceration (imprisonment) for 15 days at the Monrovia Central Prison,” Judge Sammy angrily stated.
“They need to respect the courts, and we are going to ensure that it happens, so as to restore the dignity of the Judiciary,” the Criminal Court Judge insisted.