–With Mandate To Avoid Imprisonment Of Party Defendants
By R. Joyclyn Wea
The Supreme Court of Liberia has issued a judicial order number eight instructing all subordinate courts across Liberia to use appropriate means legally to prevent the imprisonment of party defendants.
This is in an effort to curtail and eradicate the spread of the deadly COVID-19 as well as adherence to the state of emergency declared by President George Weah and approved by the National Legislature.
Count five of the judicial order mentioned that unless non-billable offenses, all courts are to use available options under the law such that personal recognizance to avoid party defendant from being committed to prison.
‘And under no circumstance shall a party infected with or suspended to being infected with the corona virus be committed to prison instead Health Authorities should be promptly contacted.’
Count two of the order further instructs circuit and specialized courts to give preference at the time primarily to petitions for writ of habeas corpus and other matters of alleged violations of the fundamental rights of citizens and residents growing out of the state of emergency.
Accordingly; the Supreme Court says it will concentrate more at this time on writing opinion in cases already heard and that only urgent high profile cases of national concern growing out of allegation of violations of the rights under the state of emergency will be prioritized.
On April 8, 2020, the President of the Republic of Liberia, his Excellency George Weah, consistent with Article 86 of the constitution, declared a State of Emergency for the purpose of fighting the virus in Liberia.
Subsequently, on April 17, 2020, the Legislature, by joint resolution #002/2020, and in accordance with Article 88 of the constitution, authorized and approved the state of emergency declared by the president for a period of sixty days with modifications to some of the measures taken under the state of emergency.