Having been accused of authorizing the beating and subsequent imprisonment of Cllr. Juma P. Karnley, Bomi County attorney at the Tubmanburg Central Prison, Judge William B. Sando is expected to appear before the Judiciary’s Inquiry Commission (JIC) for investigation.
Sando is the resident judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.
JIC is an auxiliary established within the Judiciary Branch with the exclusive power and authority to receive and investigate complaints against judges of courts of record and non-record for violation of any provision of the Judicial Canons.
The Judicial Canons are intended to establish standards for ethical conduct of judges. They are rules for all judges to uphold and promote the independence, integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary, and also avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety and moreover, judges must perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently.
Sando’s probe stemmed from a formal complaint filed by Cllr. Karnley to Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor, where Karnley claimed that “Judge Sando authorized his officers to handcuff me in open court, restrain my liberty, and thereafter, I was forced into a vehicle that took me to the Tubmanburg Central Prison.”
There has been no date set for Judge Sando’s appearance before the JIC for further investigation into the allegation. However, Supreme Court sources confiding in the Daily Observer said that the judge had already submitted his side of the incident to the Commission, setting the stage for the probe.
Copy of Judge Sando’s response to Cllr. Karnley’s allegation could not be obtained by this newspaper up to the publication of the story last night, because of confidentiality since the case has not been disposed of in court.
But in his complaint, Karnley claimed that his beating and incarceration were ordered by Judge Sando, through which “my phone was taken away from me, and my coat suit and gown were torn apart; they inflicted wounds above my left eye and various parts of my body.”
Further to his letter, Karnley claimed that “Judge Sando authorized his officers to handcuff me in open court to have my liberty restrained, and thereafter, I was forced into a vehicle that took me to the Tubmanburg Central Prison.”
Karnley’s letter said he was also released due to the pressure from the Ministry of Justice, and the intervention of those with close connections to the hierarchy of the country’s justice system.
According to the letter, “the conduct of Judge Sando was contrary to law and constituted gross misuse and abuse of power purposely humiliated, disgraced, defamed and publicly ridiculed me despite being a fellow colleague and a member of the Supreme Court Bar.”
Karnley’s letter requested prompt investigation into the matter for appropriate action so that it can serve as a deterrent for would-be judges, who are engaged in misusing and abusing their power and authority, and to also save the good image of the country’s judiciary.
In support of the call for the investigation of Judge Sando, state lawyers under the banner of the National Association of Prosecutors of Liberia (NAPL) on Monday, March 25, 2019, threatened to boycott all courtroom activities throughout the country if Chief Justice Korkpor refused to reprimand the judge.
In their statement, NAPL’s President, Cllr. Jerry D.K. Garlawolu, said none of his lawyers will ever attend the courts across the country until Judge Sando is investigated for his alleged action against Karnley.