There was pandemonium yesterday at the Monrovia City Court when Magistrate Kennedy Peabody and several lawyers abandoned an armed robbery case after they were chased out of the courtroom by defendant Sansee Passawee.
Passawee was later arrested by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) assigned at the Capitol Building, where he had gone to seek refuge. No injuries were reported after the melee.
The dramatic event happened after officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP), who had earlier charged Passawee with armed robbery, turned him over to the court to be prosecuted.
Magistrate Peabody instructed his clerk to prepare a commitment letter to send Passawee to jail while he awaits his trial.
In the process, however, the clerk delayed the communication, which annoyed defendant Passawee so much so that he broke a piece of the prisoner’s bench, held it in his hands and threatened to harm anyone that would attempt to arrest him with it.
Seeing the piece of plank in his hands, judicial security, bailiffs (court officers) and some officers of the LNP took to their heels, which created a safe corridor for the defendant to flee the premises of the Temple of Justice and ran to the Capitol Building, which houses the National Legislature.
Passawee was meanwhile arrested by officers of the LNP and other staff members at the National Legislature, and forcibly returned to the court.
When he arrived, Magistrate Peabody spent no time to contact authorities of the LNP, who immediately sent a pick-up with unarmed officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU). The officers managed to bring the situation under control and later escorted Passawee to the Monrovia Central Prison, where he would await trial.
The case started when defendant Passawee was arrested based upon a complaint from a man identified as Victor Worithy, who claimed that on November 30, 2016, he was transporting seven cartons of chicken in a wheelbarrow for a lady identified as Brandy in Bassa Town, Doe Community, when Passawee allegedly stood in front of him and demanded money, which he refused.
Worithy claimed that Passawee took a kitchen knife from his pocket and stabbed him on his hand, before making away with the US$25 that was in his pocket.