-Ordered to produce defendant Ayodeji Bejide by October 22
Magistrate Kennedy Peabody of the Monrovia City Court yesterday came under serious fire from Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court ‘C’ over the magistrate’s action to allow dismissed Guaranty Trust Bank Manager, Ayodeji Bejide, a Nigerian national, to leave the country on medical leave without the knowledge of the government.
Bejide was expected to have been indicted by Criminal Court ‘C’ for the crime of aggravated assault after he threw his calculator at the face of one of his staff members in a fit of rage, during a meeting. The staff member, identified as Edward Freeman, sustained a serious injury on the lip.
The decision allowing the defendant to leave the country on medical grounds has caused the government to issue a complaint to Judge Willie who has ordered Magistrate Peabody to ensure that defendant Bejide returned to the country by October 22.
Though the government placed a travel ban on Bejide, Magistrate Peabody later lifted the ban and subsequently ordered Bejide to leave the country anytime he wished because Bejide was now under a US$50,000 bail posted by the Insurance Company of Africa.
Not being satisfied with the bail, Peabody made Bejide’s lawyer Abraham Sillah to sign for him, before he took the decision to grant Bejide the medical leave, an act which prosecution maintains it is unaware of.
Judge Willie’s order to Peabody, a copy of which is with the Daily Observer, says Magistrate Peabody would be held responsible if the defendant Bejide is not in the country by October 22.
Peabody’s decision resulted from the government prosecutors’ refusal to press for the resumption of the case, after Bejide appeared before the court on August 30 of this year, and the judge resolved to revoke sanctions imposed on defendant Bejide barring him from leaving the country.
The assault on Freeman took place on Tuesday, August 28, after which Bejide was arrested by the Liberia National Police (LNP), and charged with aggravated assault, and arraigned on August 30 at the Monrovia City Court.