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Cllr. Gbeisay Takes On Media

By Yawah Jaivey in Kakata, Margibi County


Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Kakata, Margibi County, has lambasted the Liberian media for unwarranted attacks against him in the handling of the Sable Mining corruption case.

Reading his Formal Charge of Order at the opening of the May Term of court in Kakata, Margibi County on Monday, May 8, 2017, Judgee Gbeisay said in line with the democratic norms, the judiciary is designed to check itself and institute corrective measures for its members for any alleged irregular proceeding or mistaken ruling which can also be reviewed and corrected by remedial process to include a petition for prohibition. He said petition for certiorari among others before the justice in chambers or a direct appeal to the full bench of the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia but unfortunately, instead of exhausting or utilizing these procedures, the judiciary and its judges in particular are nowadays under persistent, consistent and unwarranted media attacks.

The assigned 13th Judicial Circuit Judge indicated that journalism is a prestigious profession and Liberia can boast of eminent and accomplished professional journalists both in the past and present, but there are few street-smart, self-red, grown-up boys, evil genius perambulating as press men and committing crimes against people  behind the curtain of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).

“For a newspaper to publish for instance, that the President of a country is under pressure from the United States Government, UK Government and the International Community for a case being tried by a court of competent jurisdiction also speaks volume and leads a reasonable mind to wonder whether such trial is a Judicial Trial so that judgment there from can be credible and respected?” Judge Gbeisay wondered.

He warned that if such behavior is not curtailed, it has the propensity to destroy the good image and stride of the Press Union of Liberia to improve the quality of media in Liberia.

Judge Gbeisay at the same time recognized and congratulated the effort of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) leadership to improve the standards of media practitioners which recently culminated to the setting up of a Media Council.

Judge Gbeisay who appeared disenchanted and frustrated went on to call on the Press Union of Liberia leadership to move another step further to set up mechanisms  to evaluate its members and weed out those involved in blackmailing from genuine media practitioners.

Judge Gbeisay alleged that these attacks are being orchestrated by lawyers who, according to him, have failed to present a convincing argument before the trial Judge.

He claimed that an attempt to reprimand those who report these deliberate falsehoods or engage in blackmailing is often interpreted as mustering the press.

Cllr. Gbeisay recommended that these deliberate falsehoods against judges, if not curtailed, may endanger the lives and properties of judges.

He said Liberia is endowed with enormous natural resources, but challenge is corruption which according to him needs to be fought at all cost. He noted that corruption can only be legally fought within the framework of the constitution and existing statues.

The former Criminal Court “C” presiding judge noted that an attempt to fight corruption by the wrong or illegal procedure is a bad governance and against International Best Practices.

It can be recalled recently Sable Mining case came to a boiling point when the prosecution team filed a complaint to the Supreme Court of Liberia requesting a writ of certiorari against him.

The request for a writ of certiorari was triggered against Judge Gbeisay when he temporarily marked the spreadsheets and e-mails presented by prosecution witness, Heine Van Niekerk as evidences to prosecute some former and current government officials.

Prosecution lawyers had argued that the decision on part of the judge was an error on his part and requested Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks who is currently in chambers for Judge Gbeisay to rescind such ruling.

However, in the wake of the legal standoff, Judge was transferred to the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Kakata, Margibi County and replaced by Judge Yussif Kaba.