Temple of Justice
Supreme Court Suspends Cllr. Wright, Others From Law Practice
MONROVIA, February 18 (LINA) - The Supreme Court, sitting in its October Term, Friday suspended Cllr. M. Wilkins Wright, former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and former Solicitor General, from the practice of law in Liberia for 12 months.
Cllr. Wright currently serves on the Bench of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja, Nigeria.
Also suspended are the Resident Circuit Judge of the 8th Judicial Circuit of Nimba County, Judge Emery S. Paye and the Resident Circuit Judge of Criminal Court “B”, 1st Judicial Circuit Montserrado County, Judge Korboi K. Nuta.
Delivering its opinion and final judgment in the case LIMINCO versus His Honor Emery Paye, Assigned Circuit Judge, Sixth Judicial Circuit, Montserrado County and Messrs. FIDC, the Court observed that Cllr. Wright, then Solicitor General, representing the Government and who had previously represented the Respondent Party in this case, deliberately obscured the fact of his lawyer-client relationship with FIDC/Sochor when at the time, he conceded to a US$15.9 million fraudulent judgment against the Government of Liberia.
The Court held that the conduct of Cllr. Wright constitutes gross conflict of interest in breach of Rules 8 and 9 of the Code for the Moral and Ethical Conduct of Lawyers.
Rule 8 states: “It is the duty of the lawyer at the time of retainer to disclose to the client all of the circumstances of his relations to the parties, if there be any and any interest in or connection with the controversy, which might influence the client in the selection of the counsel. It is unprofessional to represent conflicting interests.”
Rule 9 says: “Within the meaning of this rule, a lawyer represents conflicting interests when, on behalf of one client, it is his duty to contend for that which duty to another client requires him to oppose.
“The obligation to represent the client with undivided fidelity, and not to divulge his secrets or confidences, forbids also the subsequent acceptance of retainers or employment from others in matters adversely affecting any interest of the client with respect to which confidence has been reposed.”
The Court has therefore suspended Cllr. Wright from the practice of law directly and indirectly within the bailiwick of Liberia for a period of 12 months with immediate effect.
In respect of Judge Paye, then Assigned Circuit Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court of Montserrado, the Supreme Court held that he diverted the course of justice in the case, when on April 20, 2005, he awarded damages in the amount of US$15.9 million to FIDC/Juha and against the Government of Liberia, being fully aware that the due process of law had deliberately been withheld from the Government.
The Court also noted a consistent pattern of misconduct by Judge Paye in violation of several Judicial Canons, and has thereby suspended him for a period of 12 months with immediate effect.
Judge Nuta, also whilst serving as Assigned Circuit Judge of the same Sixth Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court of Montserrado County, was also adjudged in breach of his sacred duty as a Judge by engaging in acts unbecoming of a Judge and thereby degrading the dignity and integrity of the Judiciary when he made the court a party to the case before him by having the court enter into a contract with a third party for the sale of iron ore and receiving monies there from in a questionable manner.
Judge Nuta’s conduct was also in breach of several Judicial Canons and is also suspended for a period of six calendar months with immediate.
During the period of their suspension, these judges shall forfeit their salaries, allowances and other emoluments.
According the a judiciary release, the Supreme Court also expressed its disappointment in Cllrs. Sayma Syrenius Sephas and Roland F. Dahn for their failure as lawyers to thoroughly review the files of the said case by which means they would have discovered the sham calculated to defraud the Government of Liberia and for further challenging the constitutional authority of the Supreme Court of Liberia by attempting to subordinate this Court to the ECOWAS Court.
This, the court held, was in contravention of Article 66 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
The Court, therefore, warned the two lawyers that a repetition of this course of action shall lead to stringent disciplinary action.