By Comfort M. Johnson
MONROVIA—Supreme Court Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor has urged jurors to consider their service as a national duty and make sound decisions in cases.
He stressed that people who serve as jurors perform “a very important role” in society, and should therefore decide cases based on the evidence adduced during trial, adding that jurors’ service is enshrined in the Constitution.
Chief Justice Korkpor was speaking Friday at an orientation ceremony for prospective jurors held in the banquet hall of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
He indicated that two years ago a new jury law was passed amending the old law which requires that a juror office should be established, noting that this should be looked at seriously.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the president of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Counselor Moses G. Paegar, cautioned jurors to consider their responsibilities as a civil duty, and decide cases based on evidence presented in court, whether the person charged with an offence is guilty or not.
“You should remain impartial and independent, remain uninfluenced by any person who is not a member of the jury; it is an offence for any person who is not a member of the jury to attempt to influence you in any way,” he said.
The LNBA president noted that “if any person speaks to you about a case you should inform the court immediately.”
He also advised jurors to keep statements made in the jury room confidential, adding, “you should not discuss the case with any person other than members of the jury; it is contempt of court punishable by a fine or imprisonment to discuss any statements made in the jury room.”
Meanwhile, the president of the Trial Judges Association, James Jones, has thanked the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court as well as the Chief Jury Manager George C. Katakpah for the successful implementation of the new jury law which, he noted, has enhanced the effectiveness of the country’s justice system. LINA