Several Magisterial Courts’ Judges, who attended Monday, November 11, official opening of the November 2013 Term of Criminal Courts (A,B,C,D and E) left the occasion seriously disappointed, after they were publicly accused by a senior lawyer, Cllr. Sam Cooper, of using their chambers (offices) for courtroom activities.
Cllr. Cooper is the president of the Montserrado County Bar Association.
He was responding to Judge Korboi Nuta of Criminal Court ‘A’, when the Judge asked the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) to collectively join in the fight against corrupt practices in the Judiciary.
Judge Nuta said the public believed that judges are corrupt, “That does not mean justice is also corrupt, magistrates are likewise judges, so it falls on all of us (lawyers, judges and Magistrates) to respond directly and promptly to that criticism,” the Criminal Court Judge insisted.
Supporting Judge Nuta’s statement, Cllr. Cooper emphasized that “Magistrates have completely abandoned their various Magisterial Courts and are taking party litigants into their chambers (offices).
What are they doing there?” he wondered. “Are they doing it to extract money from poor people, who bring cases to them?”He further questioned the gathering, most of whom were lawyers, judges, jurors, and party litigants.
“I am very much disappointed over such attitudes, and we need to do something about it immediately” Cllr. Cooper insisted.
“Look at them, “said Cllr. Cooper drawing the audience, including the Magistrates attentions, “Most of them are my friends, but I would not be afraid to say it, because we lawyers are facing serious problems with these kinds of attitudes.”
“I will repeat,” He said, “they are only using their offices to hear cases.”
“Your Honor, you have to take-up time to visit their respective courtrooms, and you will see what I am saying here.”
“They are no longer using courtrooms. They are running the courts in their chambers.”
“Your Honor, I thought the courtroom should be a place where Magistrates should be hearing cases.”
“That does not exist anymore; if you were to go to their courts, you would have to wait for hours before seeing them,” he added,
“Even, if you were to ask any of their staff, they would tell you that our bosses are in chambers.”