Justice Banks Steps Aside in Angel Togba’s Murder Case

first_imgJustice Philip A. Z. Banks, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, has recused himself from the hearing and determination of the matter related to an appeal filed by lawyers representing Hans Capehart Williams and Mardea Paykue Williams, due to earlier involvement, while serving as Minister of Justice and Attorney General.Hans and Mardea were, in 2010, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, as a result of their involvement in the killing  of Merideh Angel Togba, a 14- year-old girl. She had been found dead hanging in the bathroom of the Williams’ home.Then Criminal Court ‘A’ Judge Blamo Dixon found the two guilty and sentenced the two to death.Justice Banks recused (withdrew) himself from the matter on Thursday, April 3, when the Full Bench of the High Court was about to hear argument in a “Writ of Certiorari” prayed for by Williams’ lawyers.A certiorari is an order a Higher Court issues to review the decision and proceedings in a lower court and determine whether its judgment its judgmentwere any irregularities.It all started when Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, who was presiding over the hearing along with the four Associate Justices, seated themselves in their respective seats in the joint chamber at the Temple of Justice.They prepared to listen to legal arguments between the defense team and state lawyers over the request. Surprisingly, Associate Justice Banks publicly announced “I’m recusing myself from the full bench that will hear and determine the case, because I have earlier participated in it, when I was then chief law officer, when I served as Justice Minister and Attorney General during the trial.” He added, “I am doing this so that my impartiality in this hearing will not reasonably be questioned.”“I have previously served as a lawyer concerning the same case and have expressed my opinion concerning its outcome. This is why I will not be on the Bench to hear and decide the case,” declared Associate Justice Banks justifying his decision.According to legal experts, it is provided by law that justices have to recuse themselves from a case, if they have some personal bias concerning anyone or possess independent knowledge of the facts in the dispute, or if they worked on the case as a private or government lawyer.Immediately after Associate Justice Banks’ recusal, Chief Korkpor openly said, “these are some of the reasons people will say justice delayed, justice denied, or we do not want to hear the matter. This is not so; but Associate Justice Banks’ decision sometimes leads to a tie-vote or it leads to affirmation of an equally divided court. His recusal at times could leave the court without the required quorum to hear and decide the matter so as to make a speedy determination.”He however concluded, “I will be traveling today, April 4, and upon my return, we will schedule the date for the argument. The matter is hereby suspended.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Jobs, investment, sustainable debt’

first_img11 February 2009Protecting the poor and sustaining job creation were two of five guiding principles that formed the basis of Finance Minister Trevor Manuel’s latest Budget speech.Delivering his Budget speech to Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Manuel said that, in a time of global economic turmoil, the government had been guided by five enduring principles in drawing up South Africa’s national Budget for 2009/10.These were: protecting the poor; sustaining jobs growth and expanding training opportunities; building economic capacity and promoting investment; addressing the “barriers to competitiveness that limit equitable sharing of opportunities”; and maintaining a sustainable debt level “so that our actions do not constrain our development tomorrow”.‘GDP growth of 1.2% in 2009’According to the National Treasury, South Africa’s incomes and outputs slowed sharply in the second half of 2008, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging about 3.1 percent in 2008.With the slowdown in international demand for South Africa’s exports, including the commodities that form the bedrock of the country’s economy, as well as reduced consumer spending and high interest rates, GDP growth is expected to average 1.2 percent for 2009, recovering to 4 percent by 2011.“We expect output growth to improve in 2010, supported by public infrastructure spending, lower interest rates, the 2010 Fifa World Cup and a recovery in the world economy,” Manuel said.Trading conditions ‘tough’However, he warned that trading conditions were tough and “likely to deteriorate further in the short term.”2008 was a year of economic shocks for South African producers, with increasing electricity tariffs, rising input costs, high interest rates and slowing demand for goods among consumers.The mining sector was one of the worst affected by the slowdown in demand in 2008, as evidenced by Monday’s announcement by one of South Africa’s biggest mining houses, Anglo Platinum, that it planned to cut 10 000 jobs in 2009.Manuel said the manufacturing, retail trade and residential construction sectors had also been badly hit by the global slowdown, and had already begun laying off workers, with the pace of job losses set to increase.Inflationary pressures easeInflation in South Africa has over the past two years been fuelled by rapid increases in food and oil prices, domestic capacity constraints and a weaker local currency, as well as rising electricity tariffs.The consumer inflation averaged 11.3 percent in 2008, spurred by an inflationary cycle which began in June 2006.Despite this, the National Treasury expects inflation to return to within the South African Reserve Bank’s inflation target band of 3-6 percent by the first half of 2009.In response to an improving inflation outlook and an easing of inflationary pressures such as oil prices, the central bank cut South Africa’s interest rates by a cumulative 1.5 percent between December 2008 and February 2009.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Forging Ties Between Pre-Design and Passivhaus

first_imgFab-Homes, a design firm based in Vancouver, recently rolled out a series of design options for single-family homes that incorporate Passivhaus concepts and performance to varying degrees, depending on the size of the construction budget.Contemporary styling prevails in each of Fab-Homes’ nine design packages and, even though clients can modify plans to add interior space and extra features, most of these homes are, by green standards, appropriately compact. The smallest, called the Olympia I, offers 1,400 sq. ft., while an expanded version of that design, the Olympia II, features a conditioned basement and a total of 2,400 sq. ft. The remaining designs deliver an average of 1,700 sq. ft.Pricing and contractorsCompany director Alex Maurer told GBA that a client may work with one of Fab-Homes’ builder partners in the U.S. or Canada, or with a contractor of the client’s choice. In the latter case, he says, “we would prefer working closely with the client’s contractor to ensure proper execution.”Although the firm offers custom-design services, pricing for the fixed-design packages ranges from $8,000 to $16,000. Construction costs start at about $150 per square foot, depending on the location, builder fees, and energy efficiency goals. In a recent press release, Maurer points out that “for us, to achieve the German Passive House standard for every home is a goal, but not a requirement.” Options include a heat recovery ventilation system, triple-glazed windows, a rainwater harvesting and grey-water recycling system, solar power, and solar hot water. Each house is designed to accommodate PV and ground-source heat pump installations.Maurer said that while Fab-Homes already has a few builder partners in various locations throughout the U.S., the company is working on extending its network. Any builder interested, he said, should contact the company. Contact information and background on the design options are available on the Fab-Homes website: http://www.fab-homes.com/last_img read more