Corruption, Political interference Ruin the Judiciary – Says Judge Chineh

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Liberian Circuit Judge, Nelson B. Chineh has spoken of the urgent need to rid the country’s judicial system of corruption and stop political interference. Judge Chineh, the assigned Judge of the Criminal Court “B” has acknowledged concurred with public criticisms that the Judiciary branch of government is corrupt and has to battle against political and other interferences. The Criminal Court “B” Judge made the assertion when he delivered his  charge on behalf of his own court and that of Criminal Courts “A,B,C and D on Monday, November 13, 2023, stating , public confidence in the judiciary has dwindled due to all forms of Judicial manipulations, interference and corruption. “How can we rebrand the image of the judiciary without upholding the integrity of the judiciary?” Judge Chineh wondered. The title of his charge was: Upholding Judicial integrity: A way of rebranding the image of the Judiciary. “Rebranding the image of the Judiciary requires the collective efforts of all Judicial actors to include Judges, prosecuting, defense and private lawyers, clerical staff, Ministerial officers, the press and members of the general public who serve as jurors,” said Judge Chineh. The Liberian Circuit Judge added that the manner and form in which each of these justice actors act in discharging their respective task will impact positively or negatively the public perception of the court system in Liberia. “Judges who are expected to be men and women of integrity as heads of the courts must learn to take full responsibility of the operation of the court he added,” said Judge Chineh. The Judicial Canon speaks to who a Judge is. A Judge must be punctual in attending court; He must at all times exhibit the sense of neutrality; as Judges presiding over the Criminal Assizes, it is expected of us to possess some basic qualities to include but not limited to being knowledgeable in the law controlling Criminal prosecution. He added that judges must always be cognizant of the fact that court staff and lawyers look up to them for leadership and guidance. A judge must coordinate activities between the various Judicial actors. Most importantly, a judge must also refrain from passing judgment without due process and due process is that principle of law that requires an accused to be accorded an opportunity to be head prior to being condemned. The 1986 Constitution of Liberia guarantees this right to all persons regardless of their sex, color or status. Due process protects the individual’s interest and at the same time improves the quality of the administration on justice. Judge Chineh maintained that because laws are dynamic and evolving, all judges in the Liberian Judiciary must be afforded the opportunity for continuous judicial education. In recent past, Liberian judges were privileged to attend quarterly judges’ trainings. Criminal Court “B” assigned judge in the absence of external training a periodic peers review form of training is necessary, most especially so for our newly appointed judges and let us remember that the court is the last place of hope for mankind on earth and as such should be kept sacred. Judges at all times must distinguish themselves as neutral persons by the manner and form in which they conduct judicial businesses. They must ensure that their judgements are fair and transparent and this will bring a positive change to the manner and form in which businesses are conducted in court and by this, the public perception of the judiciary will begin to shift positively. This is a way of rebranding the image of the judiciary. In addition, he pointed out that if the image of the judiciary must be positively restored, legal education must be made mandatory and that same must be not conditioned on the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) convention but instead, the Judicial institute must be empowered or equipped to all times provide continued legal education for all justice sector actors to include lawyers and among the courses to be taught at the Judicial Institute should be legal ethics. At the same time, Judge Chineh appealed to the Chief Justice to increase their paid since they should not be engaged in businesses as a government paid officer. By Garmah Never Lomo, garmahlomo@gmail.com/ newspublictrust.com/corruption

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