27 February 2013

Liberia: Complete Madness - As Broh Gets Bond

The forecourt of the Temple of Justice was a scene of complete "madness" Tuesday when some youths stormed the premises of the court demanding the detention of suspended Acting Monrovia City Mayor Mary Broh after she was granted a bail bond by the city court.

The situation turned nasty when a severe scuffle broke out between the youths-many students of the University of Liberia and members of covert groups and the Liberia National Police (LNP).

The scuffle began after the Monrovia City Court Magistrate Nelson B. Chinneh granted madam Broh's bail bond.

Mary Broh was arrested by court officers near the fence of the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon when her lawyer from the Dumbar and Dumbar Law Firm was apparently about to turn her over to the City Court on multiple charges levied against her by the Liberian Government, including obstruction of justice, among others.

The government's charges came yesterday after Madam Broh obstructed the decision of the House of Representatives on Thursday, February 23, 2013 to jail Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Kpaan for 72 hours in contempt.

The Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives, Brigadier General Martin Johnson said, when he took Superintendent Kpaan to the Monrovia Central Prison to serve her term, he was obstructed by Acting Monrovia City Mayor Mary Broh, who snatched the Legislative Prisoner away.

Upon being arrested and turned over to the court yesterday, the court granted the state lawyers' request as provided in Section 12.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia and acquainted Broh of her constitutional rights to be served and informed of the reason for her arrest as well as her right to counsel, to secure a bail, and to request preliminary examination and hearing, among others.

Having waived her right to preliminary hearing yesterday, Magistrate Chinneh ordered the court sheriff to incarcerate Mary Broh at the Monrovia Central Prison, if she failed to take advantage of her constitutional right to file a bond after her adjourned matters to be reconvened pending the issuance of a notice of assignment.

Not being pleased with the court's decision, angry men and women defiantly resisted Broh's departure from the court premises, as she was being heavily guided by court officers, including guards from the Monrovia City Hall.

Due to the growing tension at the Temple of Justice, reinforcement was called from the national Police Headquarters that later threw the crowd outside the court premises before fleeing with Madam Broh under heavy security protection from the Temple of Justice.

In a related development, on Tuesday morning, lawyer representing suspended Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Kpaan, Counselor Pearl Brown Bull earlier staged another drama at the Supreme Court of Liberia, when she openly begged the Justice in Chambers Phillip A. Z. Banks for the high court's protection on grounds that she was being accused by Bomi County Representative Gaya Kamah's office aide of stealing a disc.

While everyone in the courtroom were still in a standing ovation until Associate Justice Banks could be seated for the commencement of the writ of prohibition filed before the high court by Superintendent Kpaan, Cllr. Bull complained to the Justice, who had not taken his seat also.

"Your honor, I need your protection. I was accused of stealing by Representative Gaya Kamah's office aide of stealing a disc. But they have apologized. The press people were there and they are going to report it," said Cllr. Bull.

She narrated that the lawmaker's office aide (unidentified) accused her of stealing their disc upon seeing her with her personal discs, which she said contained videos of the Grace Kpaan saga.

However, journalists were asked out of the Supreme Court Tuesday before the high court commenced the conference in the writ of prohibition by Kpaan.

Though the role of the Justice Minister at the conference was not clear to reporters, she was however among other lawyers at the chambers conference attended by Cllr. Bull, who represented Superintendent Kpaan, while the House of Representatives was represented by Cllr. Jonathan Williams and Representative Gaya Kamah.

Both parties appeared to be tightlipped from the conference. They however told reporters that the Justice will get back to them subsequently.

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