Gloria-Musu-Scott Image: FPA

Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, former Chief Justice of Liberia, and three family members are incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison and expected to serve a lifetime jail term if the juror’s unanimous guilty verdict against her is upheld by the Supreme Court. 

The Supreme Court is the final arbiter of justice in Liberia. 

The juror’s guilty verdict followed their 2023 arrest and subsequent indictment for murder, criminal conspiracy, and giving false statements to law enforcement over the death of Scott’s niece, Charloe Musu. 

However, she ‘excepted’ the ruling that put the lower court’s decision on hold until the Supreme Court decides.

Recently, there was information about Scott and her three relatives being granted compassionate leave to visit her home in Brewerville, where she was until the February 2022 incident that claimed the life of  Charloe. 

Some outlets published the claim that the alleged granting of compassionate leave to Justice Gloria Musu Scott was illegal and unprecedented.

The full text of some of the publications can be found here and here.

We checked two things in this publication. Whether the “release” was unprecedented or the compassionate leave was illegal, as reported by many local and international media outlets,. 


The Oxford Dictionary defines unprecedented as “never done or known before.” 

There are many cases in which an inmate was granted compassionate leave. Rodney Sieh, Frontpage Africa Publisher, and Fumba Sirleaf, son of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who headed the National Security Agency (NSA), were granted compassionate leave.

In 2013, FPA published US$6 million unaccounted public money based on a GAC audit, for which Rodney Sieh was given 5000 years or a life sentence in jail by the judiciary. 

He was granted the said leave by then-Justice Minister Christina Tah in 2013 and was later suspended by the Supreme Court for six months over her actions to grant Sieh compassionate leave.

Madam Tah was reinstated in July 2014, but resigned from Sirleaf’s government by October, citing disrespect, primarily that she had not been allowed to supervise security institutions/investigations by security institutions under her watch. 

Notable among them was a probe involving Fumba Sirleaf, the ex-president’s son, who headed the NSA. Once more, as mentioned supra, it’s within the peculiar province/scope of the Justice Minister to grant such a leave.

Cllr. Wesseh cited Section 34.20 of the criminal procedure law on compassionate leave.

He said the compassionate leave would be unprecedented if granted to Justice Scott. “However, in my mind, it is unprecedented since it has never happened in public glare; maybe it has happened outside of officialdom. But for all the 12 years I spent at the Ministry of Justice, I have not noticed it.”

Cllr. Wesseh confirmed Rodney Sieh’s scenario but verified that there were no policies on compassion by the MoJ as provided for by the law.

Compassionate Leave:

According to Liberian legal precedent, the Minister of Justice may give an inmate “compassionate leave” for several reasons, such as medical needs, attending a relative’s funeral, wanting to return home, or having a strong personal cause.

Chapter 34.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law on Leaves from Prison states in part, “The Attorney General shall formulate rules or regulations governing compassionate leave from institutions and, under such laws and regulations, may permit any prisoner to leave his institution for a short period, either by himself or in the custody of an officer, to visit a close relative, to return to his home during what appears to be his last illness, or to return to his home during what appears to be his last illness, or to return to his home for other compelling reasons which strongly appeal to compassion.”

The chapter also mandated that the regulation specify the terms and conditions under which such leave must be given, taking into account the prisoner’s care, custody, transportation, and duration—which may vary from 24 to 30 days, depending on the specific case. This means that granting such a leave is within the jurisdiction or scope of the Justice Minister.

Was Scott granted compassionate leave?

Last week, social media was flooded with remorse after Cllr. Scott was granted compassionate leave to manage an inventory of her home, where Charloe was allegedly murdered and a burglary occurred.

Some of the posts are seen here, here, and here.

In a live press conference from the Central Prison, where she is, Justice Scott denied that the government granted her and her family compassionate leave. The former Chief Justice has expressed disappointment with the media report, saying it is frustrating.

However, the Boakai administration denied that Scott and her family were released.

According to Daniel Sando, Deputy Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Information, Culture, Affairs, and Tourism (MICAT), the information reported in the local media is false and intended to mislead the public about the legal system.

According to Sando, confidence in the legal system is restored by the government’s continued commitment to sustaining the rule of law and ensuring that justice is administered fairly and openly. 

Conclusion: If Justice Scott is granted compassionate leave, she will not be the first in Liberia. However, given that she and her family were convicted of murder, granting her compassionate leave would be unprecedented. Furthermore, the claim that she was released from prison is unproven.


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