The astronomical rise in the number of pretrial detainees at the Monrovia Central Prison that was constructed with a capacity to accommodate 350 inmates is presently causing grave concerns in judicial circles.
This obliged Justice Minister Christiana Tah Monday to urge the Supreme Court to take a robust action in addressing pretrial detainees at the Monrovia Central Prison, where, according to her, the number of inmates has increased to 1,044 for a facility that was meant to accommodate 350 detainees.
Minster Tah claimed that over crowdedness of the prison is a serious problem for the justice system, insisting that those indicted needed justice in keeping with law. "We have already requested the assistance of the Supreme Court through the office of the Chief Justice to once again take a robust stand in addressing these issues of pretrial detention especially at the Monrovia Central Prison where 50% of Liberian inmates are held," she said.
Cllr. Tah made the statement at the opening of the October Term of the Supreme Court at the Temple of Justice here.
She stressed that prompt action was crucial to reduce reproduce the over crowdedness of the Monrovia Central Prison.
"The prison was built for 350 inmates but its current inmates population has reach 1,044. It is clearly unacceptable and the number of people in detention needs to be reduced on a sustained basis," she stressed.
Concerning dormant cases on the trial dockets, Attorney General Tah expressed "commitment, in collaborate with the courts, to determine the specific road if any to assist the process toward the removal of those cases that require such action."
This is the fourth time Justice Minster Tah has expressed alarm at pretrial inmates at the Monrovia Central Prison after data revealed that over 200 inmates were in detention without charge or trial in violation of Section 18.2 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia.
Section 18:2 of the Criminal procedure law states: "Anyone that is accused of an indictable offense must be indicted and tried within two terms of court", otherwise released. Taking advantage of this provision, several lawyers have succeeded in filing dozens of motions forcing state lawyers to drop charges against alleged suspects