New Democrat (Monrovia)

18 February 2013

Liberia: 213 Criminal Cases Listed

Barely six days to the opening of the February Term of court, a total of 213 criminal cases are on the dockets of Criminal Courts 'A' and 'E' with criminal mischief cases dominating.

Judge Blamo Dixon who succeeded James Zota at Criminal Court 'A' has a crowded docket of 190 while the remaining 23 go to Court 'E'.

The rest are criminal trespass, arson, felonious restraints, simple assault and negligent homicide.

According to the docket of Court 'A', 99 cases are criminal mischief and 35 are aggravated assaults while the rest are 16 murder and 10 cases of criminal attempt to commit murders.

At the Criminal Court 'E', out of the 23 cases, there are six primary docket, 15 secondary docket and two sexual special offense cases.

Criminal Courts B, C and D are yet to release their dockets.

Court officials said dockets of the three courts are similar to the docket of Criminal Court 'A' with 190 cases each for this February term.

In a related development, the protracted detention without trial of several inmates at the Monrovia Central Prison continues to frustrate several pretrial detainees who claim that their rights under the law have been violated.

A relevant section of the criminal procedure law says "Anyone that is accused of an indictable offense much be indicted and tried within two terms of court."

They are accused of crimes ranging from murder to armed robbery as well as rape and theft of property.

Suspect Aaron Lackey along with three others who were charged with murder last Friday pointed to their frustration with the justice system.

"We were charged in 2010 with allegedly killing a police officer but we are yet to be tried. We are disappointed at the way things are going here. Try or release us because we are family people," he pointed out.

Rape suspect Prince Cooper claims the state has no case against him because the victim's parents wrongly accused him.

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