Liberia: Shake-up At Monrovia City Court: Magistrate Peabody, 2 Others Transferred

Magistrate Kennedy Peabody

Monrovia – A major transfer has taken place at the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice affecting Stipendiary Magistrate Kennedy Peabody.

News of the transfer of Magistrate Kennedy Peabody and two other Associate Magistrates — Eric Cooper and Lasanna Kamara — by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor broke out on Monday, August 5, when staffers, lawyers and party litigants had reported to work to do business at the court during the first working day of the week.

When the Office of the Public Information Service at the Temple of Justice was contacted by this newspaper on the matter, one of the officials there confirmed the news adding that it is the prerogative of the Chief Justice to transfer any Judge or Magistrate.

“As you are aware during the opening of each term of court you sometimes see new Judges coming in to replace the previous ones. The decision to transfer a Judge or Magistrate especially in Montserrado County, if deemed necessary, lies with the Chief Justice,” said the Judicial Public Information Service Official, who asked not to be named.

However, some lawyers and party litigants who got the news of the transfer of the Magistrates hailed Chief Justice Korkpor for transferring the three Magistrates. They all agreed that the Chief Justice’s action will bring efficiency to the first “court of instant” and get rid of the notion that no one magistrate has control over any court. 

Peabody first served as Stipendiary Magistrate of the Paynesville Magisterial Court before being transferred nearly two years ago to replace Stipendiary Magistrate Nelson Chineh at the Monrovia City Court.

Former Magistrate Chineh was appointed as a trainer at the James A. A. Pierre Judicial Training Institute at the Temple of Justice.

There are reports that Magistrate Peabody has now been replaced with Magistrate Ernest Bana from the West Point Magisterial Court. Magistrate Bana on some occasion temporarily presided over the court while Magistrate Peabody was away on a month-long visit to the United States early this year.

According to a judicial source, Magistrate Peabody has been transferred to the Bardnesville Magisterial Court as Stipendiary Magistrate. 

Magistrate Peabody couldn’t be reached to confirm or deny his transfer when news of his transfer came out on Monday, August 5.

During his tenure as Magistrate of the Monrovia City Court, Kennedy Peabody presided over on a preliminary basis, murder case of Journalist Tyron Brown, murder case involving Oliver Dillon, brother of Montserrado County Senator-elect Abraham Darius Dillon, and many others but most recently the case involving GT Bank former Manager Ayodeji Bejide where the manager in question is charged for assaulting one of the bank’s employees, Edward Freeman.

Former GT Bank Manager Bejide later fled the country and his whereabouts are unknown. He was let go on bond when he was granted medical leave by Magistrate Peabody, who claimed that the former GT Bank Manager was released to seek medical treatment out of the country.

Victim Freeman later complained Magistrate Peabody to the upper court Criminal Court “B” of his action, the complaint was heard and Magistrate Peabody was adjudged guilty by the upper court because there was no record before the court to show by the Defendant at the time that he was ill and needed to seek medical treatment  out of the country.

However, the outcome of the case is still pending before the Criminal Court “B” at the Temple of Justice prior to the transfer of Magistrate Kennedy Peabody from the Monrovia City Court.