18 December 2012

Liberia: Two Public Defenders Resign

Two of the seven Public Defenders of Montserrado County have resigned citing the lack of opportunities of pursuing further studies as part of the reasons for their resignations.

Submitting documents of copies of his resignation, one of the Public Defenders, Atty. Arthur T. Johnson of the Public Defenders section at the Temple of Justice said in his letter that he was pleased working with the Judicial Branch of the Liberian Government for the past three years which he said was an opportunity to advancing his career in the practice of law and said that working with the Judicial System as prescribed in the three years contract was actually important.

And another of the party that resigned Atty. Swahilo Sesay said they have been deprived of advanced education which they believe is cardinal to their profession.

Atty. Sesay said they had the passion to defend people who could not afford acquiring a lawyer to plead on behalf of them and that lasted for at least three years.

Atty. Sesay accused one James C.R. Flomo as undermining their status by attributing threats of various source amounting to their dismissals. Other claims leveled by Atty. Sesay were threats issued against them to publicly disgrace them.

Reacting to Atty. Johnson and Sesay, the Coordinator and Supervisor for Public Defenders Program at the Temple of Justice James C. R. Flomo refuted the allegation that he is working behind the scene to spearhead the dismissal of anyone in the Public Defenders Program.

The former judge and recognized lawyer of the Liberian Judicial System, Flomo said records in the law that govern the program does not give him any authority to dismiss people, but rather provides the Coordinator to recommend lapses of a Public Defender for possible dismissal.

The role of the Public Defender is to seek to defend people who do not have the means of acquiring lawyers for their defense.

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