Journalists Blamed for Attacks on Judges

Chief Justice Francis Korkpo.    

Chief Justice Francis Korkpor has blamed the coverage of journalists assigned to the Supreme Court for attacks against judges Roland Dahn and Roosevelt Willie as a result of “misleading and unfounded” reports.

The Chief Justice, during the opening of the Supreme Court, cited two reports assigned at the Court for publishing misleading stories against the two Judges – accusing them of receiving bribes or selling justice.

“The Press Union of Liberia (PUL), the investigation established that the stories against Judge Willie were unfounded, baseless, false, and misleading,” explained Justice Korkpor. “This is just a minute example of the many misinformation and character assignments that members of the Judiciary endure from time to time. Many of such false stories and machinations go without redress.”

The Chief Justice indictment of the court reporters was made in the presence of government officials including President George Weah, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, and President-Pro- Tempore of the Senate, Albert Chie. Unfortunately, Chief Justice Korkpor said they are judged by these reports which, according to him, are far from the truth.

Shockingly Justice Korkpor told the gathering as a result of a false narrative, “justices, judges, and magistrates continue to constantly receive threats of harm. The intent is to intimidate, create a chilling effect, and undermine the rule of law.”

He maintained that the threat of physical harm to a person presents the worst form of influence that can be exerted over that person, as it has been seen with judges, justice, and magistrates of late. Korkpor also claimed, “it appears now that perpetrators have determined that mere accusation and verbal threats have not created their desired impact, so in recent times, they have embarked on putting their threatening words into action.”

It can be recalled that on March 12, 2021, the home of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe was attacked by unknown people, who threw a petrol bomb, in his yard, while recently, Judge Willie and Roland Dahn were targeted and viciously attacked by people believed to be armed robbers.

“Of course, justices, judges, and magistrates will not shy away from their responsibility to do the right thing at all times,” Korkpor assured his audience. He vowed as saying, “We will continue to decide cases based on the facts and laws appertaining thereto and not on any pressure or influence.

“Notwithstanding, we call on the functionaries of the Government responsible for investigating such cases to become more robust in playing their rightful roles,” said Korkpor. “It is not enough to just condemn these wanton acts, the cases must be handled to their logical conclusion. Let us not wait until a justice, judge or magistrate becomes a fatal victim before action is taken,” he said.

Though Chief Justice Korkpor is now opting for a more robust decision, the Supreme Court has failed miserably to render an opinion (judgment) into its own Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) recommendation for a year suspension without pay and benefits of the Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan of the Commercial Court, in Monrovia that has been pending undecided before the high court for six months now.

The JIC then held Judge Morgan liable for unethical conduct when she unilaterally unfroze the escrow account of Ducor Petroleum Incorporated housed at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), and subsequently allowed one of the disputed parties, the Monrovia Oil Trading Company (MOTC) access the account without the consent of Amos Brosius, the other party. 

The controversial Ducor Petroleum’s escrow account case had been before Judge Morgan's court for almost nine years before the JIC’s recommendation. Despite the JIC’s findings, Justice Korkpor maintained Judge Morgan as the chief judge of the court.