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Friday, May 24, 2024

WHAT MANNER OF EQUAL JUSTICE WOULD BE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TO A FULL SUPREME COURT BENCH’S COLLECTIVE RULING?

Date:

A Patriot’s Diary  with Ekena Wesley

It is an established maxim that the Law is blind. In effect, the law is a respecter of no one. Over the last decade, successive U.S. State Department Human Rights reports have cataloged and exposed massive corruption at play in the adjudication of cases before the courts. Nothing has been done to make amends for the better. Either those who have the power to do so certainly have their hands in the cookie jar or perhaps are influenced politically.

Invariably, the pursuit of justice by party litigants has not been informed by merit borne out of a thorough judicial process that must ensure fair and speedy trial coupled with the dispense of justice without fear or favor and consistent with existing statutes. Justice has unquestionably been for sale in the small West African nation. The highest bidder often takes the day. Rather than the Law being blind, the Law would see based on the whims and caprices of a Presiding Judge. That way, justice becomes compromised and the rule of law is at risk.

When Liberia’s newly inducted Chief Justice, Sie-A-Nyene Youh appeared before the Senate, she was asked about her philosophy as a lawyer. In response, she simply failed to align with either liberalism or conservatism. She simply has no beliefs, principles, or values system, as a lawyer. With no history of practicing law either in Liberia or beyond our shores, how did we get here in the first place? Cronyism? What you know sometimes would not get you there but who you know if you may.

At her formal induction held at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Youh pledged to ensure equal justice for all. Huh! Was she speaking for the public gallery or to appease the high-profiled guests and dignitaries including scores of lawyers who had graced the moment? If the application of the law must be anchored on evidence, the action of a sitting Chief Justice cannot be divorced thereof.

Chief Justice Youh was under no pressure or any form of coercion to make a commitment whatsoever she utterly had no business making as it were.

History recalls in the 70s, the gruesome murder of a defenseless Liberian store attendant by a Lebanese merchant in Monrovia, and when the matter reached the Supreme Court led by James A. A. Pearl, injustice was served the late store attendant’s family while the Lebanese merchant was unscrupulously declared a free man. The eyes of the law had become blurred by then, folks.

Critics of our judicial system have often blamed the lack of due process and the stifling of justice as well as the truth on a deliberate balkanization of the justice system at the expense of masonic interference based on the craze and doctrine of the fraternity. In a country, where justice becomes selective, it connotes a recipe for eventual unrest. Surely, the bubble of entrenched frustrations over the rendering of Kangaroo justice will come to roost.

After Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Youh opted to go on record during her induction ceremony, barely two weeks following her now-watered pledge, she has uncharacteristically become a public disgrace by sheepishly overturning judgment cum ruling involving Judge Eva Mappy Morgan. The Judiciary Inquiry Commission of the Supreme Court Bar found Judge Mappy Morgan culpable of ethical transgression, a decision the entire Supreme Court bench upheld under the reign of retired Chief Justice, Francis Korkpor.

What is disturbing and incomprehensible was the failure of then Associate Justice, Sie-A-Nyene Youh to issue a dissenting opinion when the full bench met. Evidently, then Associate Justice Youh’s muteness at the time could be seen as deceit after all.

What has surreptitiously changed following the locus shift from Associate Justice to Chief Justice as it were? If all five Justices unreservedly agreed and sanctioned the findings of the Judiciary Inquiry Commission that Judge Eva Mappy Morgan was in violation of ethics, how come, Chief Justice, Sie-A-Nyene Youh has opted to singularly capitulate by reversing a collective ruling, to which she offered no dissent?

Chief Justice Youh’s action is not only bewildering but sends a worrisome signal about the integrity, credibility, honesty, and sincerity vis-a-vis impartiality of the Supreme Court in guaranteeing equal justice for all in the eyes of the law.

This kind of arbitrary and flagrant disregard for the rule of law is troubling and indicative of a return to the dark days. Liberians and our international partners have sacrificed so much to keep the peace. We went to war because the rule of law was nonexistent! We were at each other’s throats because justice was farfetched. If the trappings of a 14-year-old self-destructive conflict have not taught us any hard lessons, then the deaths of a quarter of a million Liberian lives simply went in vain.

Chief Justice, Sie-A-Nyene Youh’s first major blunder must remind us that our country is a bubble waiting to explode. This cannot be equal, and fair justice for all, as promised by Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Youh.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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