Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. says defense mechanism by his predecessor, the late former Chief Justice Johnnie N. Lewis to avoid ill-intentioned people from exploiting his (Lewis’) good nature may have earned him wrong public characterization as being too harsh.
After receiving the remains of the late Johnnie Lewis on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at the Temple of Justice, Chief Justice Korkpor recalled that his predecessor was bold, fearless, spoke his mind and said exactly how he felt, reasons for which he noted, “Some characterized him as being too harsh.”
“But if you ever got close to him, you will agree that he had many soft spots; perhaps the other side of him that appeared to be harsh was a necessary defense mechanism to avoid ill-intentioned people from exploiting his good nature.”
Justice Korkpor said evidence abound that the late former chief justice did many good deeds while serving the Judiciary, and portrayed him as a dependable anchor of support for his family and relatives and a source of inspiration for many he did not even know.
Besides, he said former Chief Justice Lewis’ critical analysis of issues as manifested in the insightful legal opinions he wrote will remain here forever as testimonies of his brilliance in the law.
As member of the Lewis Bench, Chief Justice Korkpor recalls that the fallen legal mind was passionate about his job as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and was committed to it.
“He pledged to improve conditions within the Judiciary at all levels. And true to his words, several infrastructure developments were commenced and completed during his time,” Chief Justice Korkpor said.
He named the construction of new courts at the Temple of Justice, Judicial Complexes in Sinoe and Gbarpolu Counties, rehabilitation of several magisterial courts, some with the assistance of UNMIL quick impact program and government funding and the establishment of the James A.A. Pierre Judicial Institute, among others.
The late chief justice served more than five years as circuit judge and more than six years as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after his appointment by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in 2006.
Appointed along with former Chief Justice Lewis on the bench were current Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor Sr; the late Justice J. Emmanuel Wureh; retired Justice Gladys K. Johnson; and current Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh.
By Winston W. Parley