The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Chief Justice Frowns At Magistrates For Taking Bond Fees

By Grace Q. Bryant
Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor has warned magistrates against taking criminal appearance bond from defendants especially in cases of minor or less offenses.
According to Justice Korkpor, there is no provision within the law that demands or requires a magistrates to take bond from a defendants stating that, this means that magistrates have been wrongfully taking bond fees from people and sending people to prison on grounds that they cannot pay their bond fees.
He further warned 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 gives magistrates and judges the right under the law to release defendants without bill or bond.
Chief Justice Korkpor alarmed over the overcrowdings of the Monrovia Central Prison (south-beach) which is mostly linked to magistrates who continue to allow defendants to be taken to prison for falling to secure a valid criminal appearance bond for minor cases.
He further mandates judges and magistrates to allow reputable people in the community or country to sign for such defendants who are taken to the court on any minor or less offense in order to help de-populate the prison.
The priest of the high court disclosed that the Supreme Court has begun investigating the situation and any magistrate who falls prey to this investigation will be penalized for breaching the law.
There has been history that the magisterial court judges especially the Monrovia City Court has been sending people to prison for not securing a criminal appearance bond which has led to defendants paying huge sum of money even in minor offenses; something that have been ongoing for years now.

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