MONROVIA-The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia His honor Francis Korkpor has sent a caveat to magistrates against taking criminal appearance bond from defendants, especially in minor or less offensive cases.
According to Justice Korkpor, there is no provision within the law that demands or requires a magistrate to take bond from a defendant. This means that Magistrates have wrongfully been taking bond fees from people and sending them to prison, especially those who fail to pay their bond fees.
He further warmed Magistrates to make use of 13.5 of the penal code and stop taking bond fees from defendants as doing so would lead to serious consequences.
13.5 of the penal code gives magistrates and judges rights under the law to release defendants without bill.
Chief Justice Korkpor alarmed over the overcrowdings of the Monrovia Central Prison (South-beach) which is mostly link to magistrates being sending defendants to jail for falling to secure a valid criminal appearance bond.
He further mandated Judges and magistrates to have reputable people in the community or country to sign for defendants when taken to the court on any offense.
The Priest of the High Court disclosed that the supreme court of Liberia has commenced investigating the situation.
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 in minor offenses, something that has been ongoing for years now.
The latest mandate coming from the High Court, May serve as a relief.