Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor has designated Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks to pay tribute on behalf of the Judiciary, at today’s funeral services for the late Chief Justice Johnnie N. Lewis.
Chief Justice Korkpor who succeeded Lewis said Associate Justice Banks was the person best suited to perform such a task for the third branch of government.
Justice Banks is one of the newest justices on the bench of the Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice declared that “Associate Justice Banks knows Chief Justice Lewis the best among us. Both of them attended Yale University in the United States of America.
They also taught at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia.”
He added, “They succeeded each other as Dean of the Law School and they have known each other for a very long time. This is why we justices agreed for him to pay the tribute on behalf of the judiciary.”
Chief Justice Korkpor made the disclosure yesterday at the Temple of Justice, during an hour of viewing of the remains of the late Chief Justice.
In his tearful remarks at the viewing ceremony, Chief Justice Korkpor said, “We miss a very good person in the law profession. His memory will always live with us, the Judiciary, because of the many infrastructure developments he undertook when he was chief justice.”
“He was more than a friend to us, he was our mentor and he was a fearless and bold individual,” the Chief Justice recollected.
“He rendered valuable services that will remain in the history of the judiciary,” the Chief Justice noted.
According to him, it was Chief Justice Lewis who introduced the James A.A. Pierre Judicial Institute at the Temple of Justice where more than 100 Liberians have acquired legal knowledge.
He said that some of graduates of the Judicial Institute have been deployed as magistrates (judges) throughout the country.
He went on to say that the late Chief Justice was instrumental in establishing the Public Defender Program at the Judiciary.
This program was created to provide free legal services to people who are unable to hire and pay lawyers to plead their cases.
Besides that, Chief Justice Korkpor said, Chief Justice Lewis constructed several courts in the country including, Criminal C, D and two Civil Law Courts at the Temple of Justice, following his appointment in 2006
The gold and black casket bearing the remains of the late Chief Justice Lewis arrived at 4:50pm at the Temple of Justice.
It was immediately taken to the first floor of the Temple of Justice where the viewing ceremony was held.
After the brief ceremony, the remains of Chief Justice Lewis were taken to the St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Camp Johnson Road for wake keeping. The funeral service will take place today at 10am at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Ashmun Street.