Two months after prosecutors protested against Judge Emery Paye of Criminal Court ‘C’s sentencing of several persons, including two employees of the John F Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC), whom he convicted of robbing the hospital of more than L$16 million and US$126,000, the judge has admitted to legal mistake in his handling of the case.
In his admission on Friday, Judge Paye said, his sentence was not in line with Chapter 31, Section 31.5 (14) Title 2 of the Liberian Code of Law Revised, Criminal Procedure Law.
According to Judge Paye, that provision states “The court shall not impose sentence without first ordering the Division of Probation and Parole Services of the court to make a pre-sentence investigation of the defendants and make a written report of such where the defendant have been convicted of the crimes punishable by more than one year.”
But, he failed to do so; instead he chose to rule without first seeking the intervention of the Bureau of Probation Service to do its pre-sentence investigation.
Judge Paye refused to say as to whether or not he received money to violate the law regarding sentences and convictions, which were prosecutors’ contention before the Supreme Court.
Further to his open admission, the Criminal Court Judge admitted that “acting in line with the law, this court recalled its sentence forwarded the guilty judgment to the Probation Services Bureau, and ordered it to conduct a pre-sentence investigation which was done.”
Judge Paye said on October 10, last month, the bureau submitted its report to him. “The court having perused the reports will now proceed with its sentencing of the defendants.”
Judge Paye had sentenced defendants Fahn F. Borbor and Patrick Konuwah, then account officers of JFKMC to three (3) years in prison and gave them one year to restitute their portion of the money.
But, after listening to the probation reports, Judge Paye, in reversing his initial sentence said,” in view of the recommendations, the court hereby sentenced defendant Patrick Konuwah to common jail at the Monrovia Central Prison for five consecutive years and orders him to restitute the amount of US$13,323.91 and L$15,807,094.40. Failure, the law in such case would be applied.”
For Defendant, Fahn F. Borbor, the criminal court judge said, “having been adjudged guilty of those crimes with which he was charged, is hereby sentenced to common jail at the Monrovia Central Prison for a period of five (5) consecutive years and to restitute the amount of US$55,049.28 and L$1,045,000 failure to restitute, the law provided in such case will be applied.”
Also, for the other defendants Rebeah Arnous, then IT specialist, Judge Paye and the bureau maintained his initial one month community service and counseling sentence to be supervised by the sheriff of the court.
Judge Paye differed with another recommendation calling for Arnous to be reinstated by the management of JFKMC.
Both lawyers of Patrick Konuwah and Fahn F. Borbor appealed the judgment.