Justice Minister to Take Criminal Cases to Maryland County

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Justice Minister, Cllr. F. Musa Dean

Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean last Friday disclosed that his ministry was considering a plan to take most of the criminal cases involving murder, armed robbery and rape from Montserrado County to Maryland County for trial.

Minister Dean said there were lots of people in various prison facilities throughout the country waiting for trial; therefore, a change of venue would help to reduce reported overcrowding, particularly at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP).

Minister Dean said, “Lawyers are my friends and we want them to understand that we are going to make a decision to take some of your cases outside of Montserrado County, especially to Harper and Cape Palmas. But we don’t want you to stand in our way to prevent the change of venue if you want the accused to get a speedy trial.”

Dean made the assertion when he spoke at the celebration of Law Day, which took place at the Temple of Justice. He explained that his ministry may likely facilitate only the movement of lawyers and preferably the accused.

The Constitution affords a criminal defendant the right to a fair and impartial trial, which includes jurors who haven’t already made up their minds about the defendant’s guilt or innocence before ever seeing any evidence in court. If there are no impartial jurors, or if not very many can be found in the venue where the crime occurred, then the trial can be moved to a place where impartial jurors can be found.

The justice minister also reminded defendant lawyers about their interest in speedy trials of their clients, who may have been detained for years, “And since you are crying for speedy trial we are going to give it to you, but please cooperate because we will be traveling with you to Maryland County.”

The question that remains unanswered by Minister Dean was whether his ministry was prepared to facilitate the movement of family members of those accused to Maryland County for their trial.

According to Dean, the exercise was intended to enhance access to justice, to ease security and ensure that the rule of law was duly respected by the ministry.

“We continue to say overcrowding of prisons is the matter that we have to focus on, because it is a very serious issue and we are going to address it in a responsible manner,” the justice minister stated.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. When you consider other logistics such as room and board of lawyers, witnesses, security, etc. associated with this decision, you wonder if this other pro-poor minister thinks before talking, or talks simply because he too, wants to be heard. It would be by far easier and less costly were mister justice minister to commission additional judges to handle these cases than transferring the cases. Also there must be laws that govern how and why the jurisdiction of cases are changed, and not because some “pro-crook” apprentice minister says so.

  2. Minister Dean feels that the right thing to do is to transfer some overload cases from Monrovia to Maryland county. That means that some kind of blessing is the bag for the Marylanders. Guess what? Dean’s proposal has its benefits. I mean jobs will be created for my people. And whether the newly created jobs will be temporary or permanent, it doesn’t matter. Furthermore, the lawyers who have always represented their clients in the courtrooms of Monrovia may fly to Harper city or maybe Pleebo city in order to contend at the behest of their clients. Also, the family members of the accused will in no uncertain terms go to the great cities of Pleebo or Harper to visit their relatives. Then, how’s about food? Who buys the food for the accused? For sure, it’s not going to be the task of the Marylanders. The Maryland market women will supply as much food as possible if the buyers show the money. Pure and simple!

    Question:
    Why did the Justice Minister choose Maryland county and not Grand Gedeh or let’s say Sinoe for that matter? Does Dean have a Maryland connection or perhaps a grudge against the Krahns or the Kru people? Of course not! Although you never know what lurks in the hearts and minds of people. Frankly, I am not bothered by Dean’s re-location attempt. In so far as cases will be settled in Maryland county and not in Ghana, it’s all good.

    I hope that Dean’s proposal goes through quickly.

    • Then again why not Maryland while their cases are being cleverly heard , and when their cases are on appeal , our of sight , out of mind . A very clever way to prolong detention and overcrowding . But then again, it is graduation time in the US, who can blame these officials for their political tricks when the population and its leader are illiterate ?

  3. It is graduate time in the US and government officials are finding it hard to put their hands on money . Now they must come out with ideas to get their hands on money . And one such way to get that money is to move criminal cases around the country . That is the pepper bush the Minister of Justice using in the eyes of the Wezb led government . And what time is it ? Per diem time ! These officials are all of the understanding that the President is illiterate in the working of government . From now on every step being taken by them is in the interest of pro-poor government agenda .

  4. Everything that’s written above by me is a
    joke. I did that to exploit the confusion that runs amok in Liberia. If the Justice Minister wishes to save money, he’s correct. But, more money could be saved by going to a closer county like Margibi. For what reason was the county of Maryland chosen is beyond intellectual comprehension.

    I totally agree with him that many cases need to be resolved.

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