–As women group seek justice
Several individuals, mainly women, on early yesterday morning, January 11 gathered at the front of the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice to express anger and dismay over the government’s decision not to prosecute Sedekie Bility for allegedly denying his wife, Warti Robinson Bility, access to their two children.
The women, through their spokesperson, Cornelia Kruah Togba, informed journalists during the protests that they were in solidarity with Mrs. Bility who, Kruah Togba claims, had suffered many instances of domestic violence in the hands of her husband, Sedekie Bility.
“We are here because we want the law to take its course and to allow Warti get access to her biological children,” Madam Togba said.”
“For too long she had been abused by her husband, and we are here to tell Bility that enough is enough and no amount of money will be paid to influence the decision of the court,” the protesters’ spokesperson noted.
She also used the occasion to call on officers of the Liberia National Police to get out of the matter as, according to her, the issue was personal and therefore there should not be any intervention by any official of government.
“Right, now, Warity was forced by her husband to leave the house where she left behind her children, and we will not stop advocating until she gets justice,” Mrs. Togba said.
According to her, since Bility drove Warity from the house, he had deployed police officers there and they prevent her from reaching her children.
The protest came while Magistrate Jomah Jallah was hearing arguments into a request by Bility’s legal team to dismiss the case of “Interference with child custody, Theft of property and criminal conspiracy” filed by Mrs. Bility’s lawyers.
Immediately after hearing the merit and demerit of Sedekie Bility’s request for dismissal of the matter, Magistrate Jomah Jallah denied the request and subsequently ruled the case to trial.
Initially, Sedekie Bility’s legal team had argued that the court lacks jurisdiction because the same matter was pending before the Civil Law Court, which is higher than the Monrovia City Court, between the same parties, relative to the same issue on custody of children.
This, they further argued, that the court is being used to assume jurisdiction over the case and, therefore, they are asking the court not to interfere with the matter.
In a counter-argument, Warti’s lawyers asked the court to continue with the case to compel Mr. Bility to surrender the children to the social protection section of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the officers of the court.
They also agree that under the Domestic Law, the father has the right to custody of the children, but in this case, Bility surreptitiously took away the children from the custody of the mother.