"I Will Dispense Justice Without Discrimination," Judge Wiles
By: Emmanuel Mondaye, Gbarpolu County Correspondent
BOPOLU, Feb 11 (LINA) - The Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Gbarpolu County, George Wiles, says, he will dispense justice by rendering fair and impartial judgment without favor or discrimination regardless of creed, status, religion, tribe or political affiliation.
Judge Wiles made the statement Monday during the formal opening of the February Term of Court.
In his three page charge, the Resident Circuit Judge challenged county authorities to recommend qualified citizens of the county to man the Debt, Labor and Traffic Courts which, he said, are empty.
He said two of the County's Magisterial Courts are not functional due to lack of assigned magistrates, something which he noted, is impeding the smooth dispensation of justice.
Judge Wiles asserted that the judiciary is central to good governance, rule of law and the survival of the society. He said it is the most important branch of government that interprets the law, sets the tone for justice, equity, and the respect for fundamental rights of citizens.
He disclosed that the court will encourage a pre-trial conference and the direct examination method where witnesses will not be asked to say all that they know.
He admonished lawyers to carefully study the case files and talk to their clients before coming to court.
Judge Wiles said that there are several defendants in detention who have overstayed for between two to three terms of court, and threatened to release them if the Ministry of Justice cannot forward them to court for speedy trial.
He then asked the magisterial and clerical staff of the court for their support during this term of court, and cautioned prospective jurors that jury service is not a money-making venture. "When you are selected to serve as juror in a trial, let your conscience be your guide", he added.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Officer of UNMIL in Gbarpolu County, Stephen Ricks, has accused the County Attorney of Gbarpolu, Atty. Stephen Kerwillian of abandoning the court, leaving defendants to be kept in prolonged detention.
He said the Gbarpolu Central Prison which is meant for ten persons is now hosting over 20 persons simply because of the delay by the County Attorney to fast track their cases. He noted that sometimes the County Attorney leaves the county without any notice.