—Risk dismissal, if….
Eric Cooper, one of three magistrates presiding over the Monrovia City Court, at the Temple of Justice was yesterday ordered to produce within 24 hours a female defendant only identified as Zinnah, who he set free without a bond.
Magistrate Cooper was also threatened with dismissal, if he refused to surrender Zinnah before Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court ‘A‘ at the Temple of Justice, by the end of today (Wednesday).
Judge Willie’s action came immediately after one Marthaline Kebbah, the woman who filed a lawsuit against Zinnah to the Monrovia City Court, complained to Judge Willie about Magistrate Cooper’s poor handling of her case.
Defendant Zinnah was charged with aggravated assault and theft of property because of her alleged involvement in the flogging of Kebbah during which the victim sustained severe injury.
Zinnah and her alleged accomplices violently jumped on Kebbah in a fist fight and inflicted pains and wounds on her eyes.
In the process, Kebbah claimed that she lost US$350 and L$20,000, according to Cooper’s writ of arrest served on Zinnah.
It was due to that complaint Magistrate Cooper used Section 13.5 of the criminal procedure law to personally release defendant Zinnah without the knowledge of Kebbah and her lawyer.
Section 13.5 allows an individual to promise to return to Court at a later date and if they break the promise they will have to pay money to the court. Thus a prominent person in a community or the society can stand as a surety based on his personal recognizance in the absence of bail, to get a person out of jail or to prevent a person from going to jail.
It was tense drama at the court yesterday, as Magistrate Cooper was seen moving from one place to another pleading with some of the court’s officers to help him relocate Zinnah, who had reneged on the promise to return to the court when needed.
A judicial source hinted the Daily Observer that when the court’s officers went to serve the writ of arrest on Zinnah, she allegedly resisted and even attacked the Court’s sheriff.
Despite Zinnah’s alleged rude behavior towards the officers, which Magistrate Cooper was said to be aware of, he instead elected to grant her bail to the disbelief of the court staffs.