Amid allegations that the judiciary is corrupt, a criminal court judge on Monday backed those claims when he openly said “Opinions and judgments emanating from judges are unimaginable, unthinkable and leave doubts as to our competency, honesty and commitment to duty.”
Judge Yarmie Q. Gbeisay of Criminal Court ‘C’ explained to his audience, many of whom were judges and lawyers, that “without fear of contradiction, it is for us to publicly admit that some of us judges have failed and neglected to measure up to the task as evidenced by the quality of opinions and judgments we’ve delivered.”
Judge Gbeisay, speaking at the opening of Criminal Courts, A, B, C and D at the Temple of Justice, added that those acts of negligence were the result of “some arbitrary actions we judges take.”
Though the criminal court judge did not name any judges, he said judges were under duty to “read, read, and read daily to keep up with the pace of development in the progressive science of law.”
According to Judge Gbeisay, judges are not supposed to be penalized for their legal opinions, “but some of the opinions and judgments emanating from us judges are unimaginable, unthinkable and leave doubt as to our competency, honesty and commitment to duty.”
Giving instances where judges erred, Judge Gbeisay said some judges usually without an indictment can issue a writ of arrest and sometimes charge a person with a crime, or try a case without a jury, “then one wonders whether he or she is really a judge as contemplated by the authors of the Constitution.”
He also explained that some judges “at times do not identify, analyze and rationalize the issue of the case but pass judgment, and with such an opinion he creates more confusion than conclusion.
“If a judge hearing an ejection case elects to order arbitration without agreement or stipulation from parties, one wonders whether he is making or interpreting the law.
“If a judge who has a claim against another person files a suit before himself or herself and tries and convicts the accused, one is compelled to ask whether such a judge is serving in good behavior to warrant serving up to seventy years and don’t deserve some form of punishment.
“One further wonders whether judges should be free of disciplinary action when the judge is knowledgeable and it is glaringly determined that the wrongful act is deliberate.”
According to him, the law provides that “the penalty for violation of any judicial canon (rule) should be a fine, suspension, impeachment and or prosecution in a court of law according to the gravity of the violation.”
Based on that provision, Judge Gbeisay said, “I have a strong opinion that judges should be trained, evaluated and that besides salary allowance, other benefits of judges should be based on performance in line with international best practice.”