The assigned Judge at the 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Gbarnga Bong County, Koboi Nuta, has identified ‘disrespect’ as one main source responsible for the over crowding of the courts’ dockets.
Judge Nuta, who made the statement when he delivered his charge at the formal opening of the August Term of Court, held on Monday, August 13, said that if everybody cherishes respect for one another, it helps drive the dispensation of justice, and further reduces the cramming of prisons across the country.
Nuta informed the gathering that there are 26 criminal cases with 51 civil cases on the court’s docket.
He said that with the constraints facing the courts in getting party litigants, witnesses to come to court on time, it will be difficult to dispose of these cases in 42 days.
“The reason why there are huge cases on docket is simply because Liberians have failed to respect one another whether constitutional or otherwise. Those days children were belonging to the communities because there was huge regard of respect among community dwellers” Judge Nuta said.
He said that the absence of respect among community people has destroyed the fabric of societal norms, and as a result, there continue to be influx of cases on dockets, some of which Nuta said could have been settled at the community level.
Challenge to Judges and Jurors
Judge Nuta cautioned judges and jurors to dispense justice without fear or favor, irrespective of status of those brought before court.
“Judge should not adjudicate a matter of interest. In other words, a Judge should recuse from hearing or determining a case, which he/she is personally interested,” Nuta warned.
According to him, this is because judges unconsciously descend into the arena of conflict between party litigants, and in the process, fail woefully in holding evenly the scale of justice as their vision, and sense of justice would have been beclouded, Judge Nuta said.
Bong County Superintendent, Madam Esther Walker, called on judicial actors and party litigants to work along with the court to reduce the number of detainees at the Gbarnga Central Prison that is currently playing host to 196 convicts and detainees.
The president of the Bong County Bar Association George D. Sagbeh, assured Judge Nuta his organization’s commitment to working with the court to address the issues of overcrowding, as well as the pre-trial detainees who are being behind bars reportedly beyond the statutory periods as defined by law.