The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia Francis Korkpor has sent a caveat to magistrates against taking criminal appearance bond from defendant, especially in minor or less offensive.
According to Justice Korkpor, there is no provision within the law that demands or requires magistrates to take bond from a defendants. This means that Magistrates have been wrongfully requesting bond fees from defendants, with those refusing to pay imprisoned.
He further warmed Magistrates to make use of 13.5 of the penal and stop taking bond fees from defendants as any magistrates caught in the habit of taking bond from defendants will face the full weight of the law.
13.5 Of the penal code give magistrates and judges rights under the law to release defendants without bill.
Chief Justice Korkpor alarmed over the overcrowding of the Monrovia Central Prison (south-beach) which is mostly link to magistrates continuous act of sending defendants to jail for falling to secure a valid criminal appearance bond.
He further mandates Judges and magistrates to have reputable people in the community or country to sign for defendants to help depopulate the prison compound.
The Priest of the High Court disclosed that the Supreme Court of Liberia has begun investigating the situation and will definitely penalize those involved for bridging the law.
There has been history of Magisterial Court Judges, especially the Monrovia City Court (court of first instance) sending people to prison for not securing a criminal appearance bond. In some instances, defendants are charged huge sum of money even for minor offenses, something that has been ongoing for years.
The latest mandate coming from the High Court, upheld by all magisterial courts judges, may serve as a relief for many.