Home Governance Two Top GOL Officials Beg S/Court For Pardon

Two Top GOL Officials Beg S/Court For Pardon

by News Manager

By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah

MONROVIA: Justice Minister, Cllr. Frank Musah Dean, and Information Minister, Ledgerhood J. Rennie, have pleaded with the Supreme Court of Liberia for mercy, following their appearance on Tuesday, 20, June, 2023, to answer to a contempt charge before the High Court.

On May 30, the Supreme Court summoned the two government officials to explain why they should not be held in contempt for their statements, criticizing the judicial system after jurors rendered a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict in favor of defendants in the US$100 million drug case.

Justice Minister Dean, who is also Attorney General of Liberia, was accompanied to the Supreme Court by an array of top Lawyers including Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull; the President of the Liberia National Bar Association, Sylvester Rennie; Cllr. Oswald Tweh and the former Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law of the University of Liberia, Cllr. T. Nagbalee Warner.

Justice Minister Dean appeared before the Full Bench of the Supreme Court and apologized for his statements as well as his delay in appearing on time.

Both Ministers Dean and Rennie were fined US$500 each for their failure to comply with the summon issued them by the Full Bench of the Supreme Court.
The fine was imposed due to Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean and Information Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie’s non-compliance with the summon.

The ministers claimed they were engaged in travel and sent Deputy Justice Minister, Nyenati Tuan, as their Representative.

However, Deputy Minister Tuan was also fined for not carrying out a written communication from the ministers, explaining reason for their unavailability.

The US$100 million drug case was tried by Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, and the jury, selected by the prosecuting arm of the Liberian government and the defense team, delivered a not guilty verdict in favor of all four defendants.

Following the verdict, the Executive Branch of the government, through the Ministry of Justice, condemned the verdict and Judge Blamo Dixon, who presided over the case, describing the acquittal of the four defendants as appalling.
Minister Dean, in a press statement released immediately after the court ruling in the US$100m drug case, stated that the verdict was shameful and undermined the country’s efforts to combat the illegal transit of illicit drugs.

However, Cllr. Dean clarified that his statements were never intended to tarnish the government’s image but rather a specific reference to the ruling, in which the government had presented all the evidence to prosecute the defendants.
During their appearance, one of Ministers Dean and Rennie’s lawyers, Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull, informed the Full Bench of the Supreme Court that her clients had no intention to challenge the Court but were pleading for mercy.

“Your Honor, in honor and absolute obedience to the citation of this honorable court, the Attorney General of Liberia and Dean of the Supreme Court; and Ledgerhood J. Ronnie, Minister of Information pray for your indulgence and mercy, and apologize to your honor,” Cllr. Bull stated.
According to Cllr. Bull, Minister Dean had served as Dean of the Supreme Court for six years and had contributed to the court’s efforts to rebrand the judiciary. Therefore, his appearance was not meant to disrespect the court or undermine its reputation.
The Liberian legal expert emphasized that Minister Dean’s statement, expressing shock at the court’s ruling was based on the evidence presented by the prosecution and not intended to provoke a confrontation with the court, for which Ministers Dean and Rennie were charged with contempt.
Cllr. Bull maintained, “According to the procedure and ethics in this jurisdiction, before this court, you put the facts before the case, then before the law issues and discussion.”
She urged the Supreme Court not to pursue its contempt charge against the two ministers, as they were also contributing to the rebranding of the judiciary.
“In light of the above, respondents sincerely and respectfully pray for your honor’s mercy based on the facts, circumstances, and Minister of Justice’s statements or actions. We pray for your honor’s mercy in relation to the contempt charge, so that Minister Dean can continue to assist this court in rebranding the image of the judiciary.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Her Honor Sie-A-Nyene Gyapay Yuoh, has reserved ruling on the matter and suspended further proceedings.

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