The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Justice Minister Contempt Hearing Set for Oct 21

The Supreme Court has granted continuance to 'Friends of the Court' to allow them time to actually prepare and argue their side of the matter of which the high court had summoned Attorney General Christiana Tah and lawyers representing Frontpage Africa's Managing Editor Rodney Sieh.

In its submission made following representations at the call of case yesterday in the chambers of the Supreme Court, Cllr. Cyril Jones on behalf of his team said their submission was intended to defend their side of the presentation due to what they have seen as the "gravity of the matter."

He said this was depended on how they obtain their information because it was based on their own experience, cost and time. Legal minds interpret Chapter 34 Section 34.20 of the Liberian Code of Law Revised to mean that Compassionate Leave should be granted only to persons convicted or sentenced for a long period of time.

Legal sources said apparently the Attorney General did not act properly inspite of her line of duty as the head of Central Prisons because Rodney was only sent to prison by the Supreme Court as a punitive measure for abandoning his appeal process.

Meanwhile, the process for filing a proper 'brief' is still a major problem to party litigants as lawyers continue to receive lashes from the Supreme Court as the Bench queries the briefs and or return same to be written properly to befit a counselor-at-law who is qualified to appear before the high court.

Yesterday's hearing on the Supreme Court's summon to Justice Minister Christiana Tah and Cllr. Beyan Howard to show reason(s) why they should not be held in contempt for showing 'gross disrespect' to the Bench, the court observed that Cllr. Howard and his colleague Alexander Zoe failed miserably to submit a proper brief.

The flaws was noticed by Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyeneh Youh who raised the issue of not placing the names of the legal counsels on the brief but Cllr. Zoe's defense was that the names of the other lawyers were unknown when the brief was written and submitted.

The Bench said time without number, lawyers have been taught how to submit proper briefs but to no avail and that instead of saying to 'his' honor, it read to 'her' which appeared like a cut-and-paste document intended to be submitted to a female judge.

The lawyer representing Cllr. Howard tried to put up a defense but apparently, his argument will mean that the brief will be returned to them for resubmission on Friday, October 18, at which time lawyers representing Cllr. Tah and Friends of Court will be submitting theirs as instructed by the court.

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