‘BIG DISGRACE’ IN THE JUDICIARY BRANCH
Retired Associate Justice Gladys’ Johnson hits the nail on the head. Now the full bench must make meaning of her parting words and make justice meaningful again.
GLADY’S JOHNSON IS retiring into the sunset after almost six years on the Supreme Court bench. Regarded as one of the seasoned justice on the high court, Johnson used her retirement ceremony to highlight what many regard has the most burning issue thwarting the dispensation of justice in post-war Liberia: Corruption.
THE RETIRED Associate Justice’s description of corruption as the most saddened issue in the judicial system of Liberia comes on the heels of numerous reports of bribery of jurors and warnings from several judges in as many weeks cautioning jurors against taking bribes to decide cases.
RETIRED JUSTICE JOHNSON took the bold move of indicating that corruption is practice by every sector of the judiciary in post-war Liberia, meaning not only jurors and judges are involved but also lawyers.
SAID RETIRED JUSTICE JOHNSON: ‘‘Lawyers have one way or the other taken money to carry out something uncalled for, judges have also been influenced by money in their decision making process. Sometimes they decide a particular case in the other way due to what they have been given. Sometimes, too, they are influenced with money in the assignment of cases. This is why some cases remain in a particular court’s docket and never adjudicated.’’
RETIRED JUSTICE JOHNSON said the practice is bad and must be stopped if Liberia is to make progress in the judicial system. ‘’As a member of the judiciary this has actually saddened me a lot. It is a big shame if you are part of a particular profession and see such a big disgrace in it. People most often look at you so ugly.’’
WE JOIN RETIRE Justice Johnson in calling on not only the head of the executive branch but also the head of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis to take punitive action against every corrupt Liberian official, including those in the judiciary.
CHIEF JUSTICE LEWIS must make it a priority to ensure that those who blow whistle on corrupt judges are not punished for doing so but encouraged.
THIS IS THE ONLY way bad judges can be weeded from the system. Punishing those closed to judges and aware of the ills being practiced in various cases only serves as a means of support to a corrupt system when it should serve as a deterrent. Chief Justice Lewis and the Associate Justice owes it to the people of Liberia to take the bull by the horn on this issue in a bid to ensure that the judiciary branch is solid again and Liberians can rely on the courts for an unfair, unbiased and objective dispensation of justice.