Bomi County Attorney ‘Flogged’, Detained at Tubmanburg Central Prison

Cllr.  Juma Karnley being handcuffed while being taken to the prisoner's bench.

Disgraced Cllr. Juma Karnley seeks Supreme Court intervention to probe Judge William Sando’s action 

Immediately following Cllr. Juma P. Karnley’s release from detention at the Tubmanburg Central Prison, the GOL’s lead lawyer and Bomi County attorney has filed a formal complaint against Cllr. William B. Sando, resident judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court before the Supreme Court.

Karnley is said to have been released based on the intervention of Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), and Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean.

“During my ordeal instituted by Judge Sando, my phone was taken away from me, and my coat suit and gown that I wore was torn; they inflicted wounds above my left eye and various parts of my body,” Karnley’s letter of complaint submitted to Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor against Judge Sando alleged.

Further to his letter, Karnley claimed that “Judge Sando authorized his officers to handcuff me in open court to have my liberty restrained, and thereafter, I was forced into a vehicle that took me to the Tubmanburg Central Prison.”

Karnley’s letter said he was also released due to the pressure from the Ministry of Justice and the intervention of those with close connections to the hierarchy of the country’s justice system.

According to the letter, “the conduct of Judge Sando was contrary to law and constituted gross misuse and abuse of power purposely humiliated, disgraced, defamed and publicly ridiculed me despite being a fellow colleague and a member of the Supreme Court Bar.”

Karnley’s letter requested  prompt investigation into the matter for appropriate action so that it can serve as a deterrent for would-be judges, who are engaged in misusing and abusing their power and authority and, to also save the good image of the country’s judiciary.

In his complaint, dated March 22, 2019 to Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, Karnley claimed that his ordeal started when Judge Sando held him in contempt of court.

The Bomi County attorney further claimed that the contempt charge came when he expressed an opposing view regarding a criminal case between one Alieu Siryon, on whose behalf the government instituted a lawsuit against defendant Mohammed Jabateh about four years ago.

Cllr. Karnley explained that the government’s lawsuit was to compel defendant Jabateh to payback US$2,000 that he received from Siryon to purchase a vehicle for him.

After Jabateh had allegedly refused to pay back Siryon’s US$2,000, he wrote a complaint against Jabateh to Judge Sando.

Acting on Siryon’s letter, Judge Sando on Monday, March 18, 2019, decided to institute Action of Debt against one Mohammed Fofana, who had later intervened to settle the dispute, demanding that he made payment of US$1,000 against the US$2,000.

But Karnley claimed that Siryon refused Fofana’s offer of the US$1,000. Instead, he chose to pursue the action of debt against Fofana in court.

When the communication reached Judge Sando, he immediately requested Fofana to appear before him the following day to answer to the complaint.

It was during that hearing Karnley claimed he was contacted by Fofana to accompany him to Judge Sando’s hearing, which he accepted, “but unfortunately, I became the victim.”

Though Karnley claimed that he was initially part of the case, Judge Sando at the time chose to leave him out of the matter. “Judge Sando held Fofana liable to pay the US$2,000, and his failure to do so led to his detention at the Tubmanburg Central Prison,” Karnley claimed.

It was during hearings into the matter that the County Attorney claimed that he expressed a contrary view to Judge Sando’s action to hold Fofana liable to pay US$2,000 to Siryon.

That payment was intended to satisfy Sando’s ruling against Fofana, who was not a party to the initial case, which decision Karnley said he seriously rejected.

During the hearing, Fofana was never allowed to be represented by a lawyer after Judge Sando refused his participation, according to Karnley.

While Judge is yet to speak to the complaint, legal experts informed this newspaper that the Supreme Court is expected to hear Cllr. Karnley’s complaint anytime this week.


    • Incidentally, your name just happen to have come up in a discussion yesterday Redford, on CCL. Go there and clear your name, like in old times.

  1. Jungle justice! How do these people expect to attract any investors in Liberia, when these kinds of uncivilized behaviors are being carried out by places like the judiciary, the one place that supposed to represent hope, rule of law and justice for anybody in Liberia? If a County Attorney can be treated in Liberia like this, then imagine the fate of a poor Joe blow. This judge ought to be dismissed and sent to the very jail he committed his colleague to as a lesson in justice. No matter the infraction by the County Attorney, contempt of court and contempt of court and more contempt of court with associated fines was the appropriate recourse for this so-called judge Santo in this matter. And whatever the fined amount could not have been expected to be paid right there and then. A payment schedule would be stipulated within which the amount be paid, failure to do so before incarceration would suffice. But brutalizing a fellow lawman for contempt and perhaps continuous contempt of court? That is judicial tyranny!

  2. Oh my God! What’s going on in Liberia? Third world mentality? Completely unacceptable! Despite the discomfort some deep-rooted Liberians may feel, it makes sense to take a walk from the third world into the 2nd world. Probably in the 2nd world, Liberia’s judiciary and other institutions of government will wise up.

  3. Corporal punishment in this day and age! Was Judge Sando our of his mind? William Sando should pay for such primitively wicked abuse of power.

  4. When those who ought to know better, especially members of the judiciary, allegedly become renegades, it’s useless expressing wonderment at the rise of unruly behaviors and vigilante justice.

    • you were a renegade when you headed the NSA and people were murdered and raped and tortured. so dont come on this website and talk trash. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM NOT SOLUTION

    • I am very disappointed in the manner this CDC Government is running Liberia! This is the result of irresponsible individuals awarded responsible positions! The two (2) Bomi County’s judges are representatives of the judiciary and NOT a junta! The days of the COs should be in the distance pass! What is the guy smoking? Is there no chain of command in the judiciary? These kinds of actions will only frighten investors! The government needs to take a decisive stance to discourage these kinds of antisocial attitudes!

      • Is that the CDC government that beat him? Why some of you opposition dudes always making everything out of politics?

        I guess as a flagrant result of your opposition blindness, you didn’t comprehend the full text of the story well.

        To put a lit understanding into your unfiltered opposing mind, Cllr. Juma Karnley was released based on the intervention of the Liberian Bar Association President, and the Justice Minister.

        So, with a common elementary sense, the CDC-LED government has nothing to do with the Judge’s reckless conduct of incarcerating Cllr. Juma Karnley. Try to be objective in your opposing crusade and egregious utterances to demean the effort of this government, Sir.


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