Liberia Bar Association Launches Free Legal Service Lecture Series
Monrovia – The Liberia National Bar Association on Thursday, February 14, launched the Legal Aid Clinic in Bomi County, the first since the county was established in 1984.
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian, [email protected]
The new Legal Aid Clinic was established by LNBA with support from the USAID and Liberia Professional Anti- Corruption Program (LPAC).
It intends to provide legal services and representation to indigents – persons who cannot afford to pay for legal services or representation in court.
Legal clinics have already been established in Montserrado, Margibi, Bong, and Grand Bassa Counties.
In order to fulfill this promise, the LNBA organized an hour-long free legal service lecture series to hundreds of people in the Kondeh Community, Bomi County.
While in Bomi County, on Thursday Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, president of LNBA, said the Legal Aid Clinic provides knowledge to communities so they can protect themselves by knowing the laws so that no one can violate their rights.
Cllr Gongloe, lecturing on the topic the ‘Criminal Justice System and Pre-trial detainees’, indicated that because the justice system starts with the police the police is under obligation to furnish an accused person with his /or her rights.
“The police is under obligation to inform an accused person with his/her right to a lawyer, and the right to remain silent because any statement that is made upon arrest can be used against the accused when he/she shall appear in court for trial,” added Cllr. Gongloe, who warned against bribing investigators.
The USAID/LPAC Project Chief of Party, Gerald Meyerman called on people of the county to take advantage of the Legal Aid Clinic within their county, and that those working with the Legal Aid Clinic will help remedy some of these issues.
Bomi County Resident Judge William Sando called on the people the county to make use of the Legal Aid Clinic.
Edwin Lloyd, who spoke on behalf of the County Superintendent Adama Robinson, said the county administration will work with town chiefs and commissioners to create awareness about the legal aid clinic.
A cross section of locals praised the LNBA leadership for the project and expressed dismay over the high bond fees imposed by magistrates as well as the slow pace of the justice system which has resulted to the over-crowdedness of the prison facility with pre-trial detainees.