By C. Winnie Saywah
The assigned circuit judge of Criminal Courts “A” and “B” for the May term of court, Blamo Dixon has warned jurors to respect themselves as they serve as judges of facts during trial proceedings.
Delivering the judges’ charge during the opening of the May term of courts A.D. 2013 at the Temple of Justice, Judge Dixon said jurors who fail to respect themselves will be disciplined in keeping with the law noting, “Stop taking money and gifts from court staff, lawyers and party litigants.”
“If you are caught, please do not blame us for the consequences that you will bear,” the assigned judge said. He also urged court staff to take their jobs seriously and stop meddling in cases as if they were party litigants or lawyers.
Judge Dixon further charged the staff to stop playing, joking and tampering with jurors as well as court records and minutes for their personal aggrandizement adding that that will put them in trouble and cause their dismissal.
Judge Dixon serves as judge of the two Circuit Courts while Judge Yussif Kaba presides over and conducts proceedings of Criminal Courts “C” and “D”. The two judges have served over the two separate Circuit Courts since the February term due to the suspension of Judges Korboi Nuta and Emery Paye as well as the death of Judge Emmanuel Kollie.
Meanwhile, Judge Dixon has reported that during the February term A.D. 2013 Criminal Court “A” disposed of two jury cases and eight non jury cases; 43 indictments were processed before the grand jury while 18 of the said indictments fell under the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court “A.”
In Criminal Court “B” two jury cases and nine non jury cases were disposed of while 90 cases were forwarded to the office of the county attorney for appropriate actions and no remedial process was sustained during this process.
He also paid special tribute to former Chief Justice, Johnnie Lewis for his vehement strive to fight corruption and malpractices in the Judiciary, a legacy he revealed is being preserved by the tireless effort of the Justice Minister, Christiana Tah through the amendment of the New Jury Law and efforts to amend Section 7.3, Subsection (b) of the New Judiciary Law for magistrates to hear cases above petty larceny and to increase the jurisdiction of magisterial courts to hear misdemeanors.
Judge Dixon said this effort when completed the workload on the offices of the county attorney will be reduced and trial dockets of criminal courts will be minimized while appeal, a constitutional right, will still be inviolate and granted.
He said there is also a need to amend rule eight of the reversed rules of the Circuit Courts which says that in either the criminal or civil division, except in circumstances over which there is no control, the trial of more than one case by a jury at the same time by the same judge is prohibited adding that rule has also contributed to the congestion of trial dockets thus keeping inmates who committed alleged capital offences in prolonged detention without trial.