A proceeding that was to establish whether Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisaye of Civil Law Court 'A' should rescind (revoke) his early judgment awarding US$6,000 as lawyer fees in a non contested divorce case between a Liberian lady, Karen R. Clarke Armstrong (plaintiff), and her British husband Hans Armstrong (defendant), turned dramatic when the defense lawyer, the Gongloe and Associates Law Firm, requested the judge to recuse himself (step aside) from the matter.
Interestingly, Gbeisaye, after being confronted on Monday by the Gongloe and Associates law firm owned by Counselor Tiawan Gongloe, the judge publicly announced that he is going to look into the matter of his stepping down from the Armstrong's divorce case on Tuesday, July 20.
Surprisingly, Judge Gbeisaye halted the hearing of his challenged US$6,000 judgment against Armstrong also on yesterday.
It is not clear whether Judge Gbeisaye will see the law firm contention as a major ground for the judge to accept his recusal from the ongoing divorce proceedings,
The Monday, July 19 dramatic scene started in the courtroom from a written statement believed to have been contained in Gbeisaye's reply to Armstrong's complaint of unethical behavior of Gbeisaye to Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, which the law firm claimed that it has a direct racist comment that was targeting their client,Hans Armstrong.
Armstrong had earlier claimed that he was verbally insulted by Judge Gbeisaye during a conference that the judge organized in his office with Armstrong and his wife, but unfortunately Karen R. Clarke Armstrong did not attend the conference. However, she was represented by her lawyer, Cllr. G. Wiefueh Alfred Sayeh.
In his July 5 replied to Armstrong's compliant, which copy is with the Daily Observer, Judge Gbeisaye is quoted as saying," From my interaction with Mr.Hans Armstrong, it appears that he is a hard core racist who does not have respect for black people, the Liberian people and the authority of the Liberian Court. With a colonial mentality that black people are less human beings."
Against this statement, the Gongloe and Associates Law Firm alleges that it was a prejudicial expression that clearly undermines the neutrality and impartiality of a judge.
The law firm also argues that Gbeisaye's action put the judge in an adversary position against the defendant, which undermines Gbeisaye's neutrality and impartiality as a judge in disposing any legal issue growing out of the same matter from which the divorce dispute emanated. And, "This is demonstrated by your unwarranted, baseless and emotional description of Armstrong."
The law firm further argues that the racist comment is a demonstration of the judge’s growing anger and lack of neutrality and impartiality in the proceedings, at which time, a defense lawyer, Attorney Boakai Kamara, only for filling a bill of information against Judge Gbeisaye was fined US$150.
"Your Honor, you should recuse yourself because you are full of anger and bitterness to the extent that even lawyers representing Armstrong before your court are becoming victims of your prejudice against him as shown by the fact that you fined Attorney Boakai Kamara US$150 for representing him in the bill of information," the Gongloe and Associates argued.
They also contended that as a result of a fine imposed on Attorney Boakai Kamara, other lawyers from the law firm were afraid to represent Armstrong before Judge Gbeisaye in dealing with any aspect of the divorce case that the plaintiff filed because of fear of fine or imprisonment by the Judge.