‘I Will Never Disrespect the Court’

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Minister Fahnbulleh (left) with his lawyer rejoicing shortly after Judge Gbeisay freed him of contempt charge.

— Acting Foreign Minister Fahnbulleh promises

A day after Civil Court ‘A’ threatened to arrest and imprison Acting Foreign Minister Henry Fahnbulleh for his failure to appear before Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, the minister on Friday, August 30, showed up in court and publicly begged for mercy and forgiveness.

Minister Fahnbulleh, who is a former Montserrado County District #4 lawmaker, was on Thursday, August 29, held in contempt after he refused to show up in the court to answer to a complaint bought by one Loysius Garr against him seeking for US$150,670 as damages.

During Friday’s hearing, Fahnbulleh, who was accompanied to the court by his lawyer, Cllr. Jallah A. Barbu, was made to take the witness stand to explain the reason behind his refusal to attend to his scheduled hearing.

It was when he pleaded with Judge Gbeisay saying, “At no time will I disrespect the court or any other courts in this country.”

Fahnbulleh was accused of instructing the protocol officers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to arrest the sheriff who went to the ministry to serve a writ on him with the assignment for his appearance on Thursday.

“If you come back here the next time, we will arrest you. Leave from here before my temper rise and I arrest you,” Judge Gbeisay was heard quoting his sheriff’s encounter in the office of Minister Fahnbulleh at Friday’s hearing.

In his response, Fahnbulleh vehemently denied the allegation, adding, “At no time did I instruct any protocol officer to arrest or disrespect the court or the sheriff.”

He said it was because of the tight security at the ministry, especially with the office of the president being there,  that, “They did not act on my behalf, but the security officers were only performing some of their normal duties, and not on my instruction.”

“I promise that it will never be repeated. I beg the court to forgive me,” Fahnbulleh pleaded.

His appeal was echoed by his lawyer, Cllr. Barbu, who himself vowed that if that is repeated, the court should issue an arrest warrant for Fahnbulleh.

In accepting his open apology, Judge Gbeisay said Fahnbulleh and Cllr. Barbu informed him, the judge, that he never interacted with the sheriff of the court and that whoever made the statement will not make such statement on his (Fahnbulleh’s) behalf.

Gbeisay informed Fahnbulleh that if he were to refuse to attend Friday’s hearing, he would have given order for the sheriff to arrest him.

“If Fahnbulleh were to resist his arrest order I was going to mandate the sheriff to put out sufficient man power to subdue him and to bring him under the jurisdiction of this court,” Gbeisay insisted.

Therefore, Gbeisay said, “Since Fahnbulleh was not seen in person by our sheriff created doubt whether or not he made the statement, the court hereby dropped the contempt charge against him.”

The case came about when Garr sought monetary award of US$670 as special damages, and US$150,000 for his discomfort and mental anguish suffered as the direct result of Fahnbulleh’s driver’s wrongful conduct against him through a motor accident.

The lawsuit that brought Fahnbulleh under the jurisdiction of the court alleged that on February 7, 2015 officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) launched an investigation into an accident that occurred on SKD Boulevard near the Total Gas Station involving his pick-up truck with Mr. Garr.

One Mohammed Kamara was the driver of Fahnbulleh’s pickup, but the former lawmaker was not in the car when the accident happened.

When he was interrogated, Kamara admitted to being in the wrong. Garr was rushed to the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center from where, the court’s record claimed, he spent four days undergoing medical treatment.

While at the JFK, doctors diagnosed Garr of sustaining fractures in the  hip (pelvic) and that as a result he also suffered from partial blurred vision in both eyes that are currently affecting him.

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