– Chief Justice alarms
The Chief Justice of Liberia, Cllr. Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. Is alarming that “a handful of citizens”, including some members of the Liberian print and electronic media are bent on discrediting efforts of the Judiciary through the spread of “falsehood”, issuance of threats and other vile means to blackmail judges of the Court system whenever their preferred party to litigation loses a case.
Delivering a charge yesterday at the opening of the March 2015 Term of the Supreme Court of Liberia at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Chief Justice Korkpor warned the public that a judicial proceeding is not a football game… wherein there may be a tie or draw.
He told the gathering that judges are not any less immuned to public scrutiny than ordinary citizens and members of other branches of government, but emphasized that what cannot be accepted are outright lies and innuendos intended to cast aspersions on, as well as erode public confidence in the Judiciary and its officials.
“But while we are making efforts to restore credibility and integrity to the Judiciary, a handful of our citizens, and some members of the print and electronic media are bent on discrediting our efforts,” he saying: “whenever their preferred party to litigation loses or whenever they are dissatisfied with the outcome of a case, they attribute such loss to nefarious intent and conduct of the court and spread falsehood about the Judiciary; they issue threats and other vile means to blackmail judges.”
While acknowledging that a loser in a judicial proceeding and his or her supporters are not expected to be happy, he, however, warned that their disagreement does not amount to insult, vilifying or threatening the judge who making the decision under the guise of freedom of speech and of the press.
He said the Supreme Court has, in recent years, observed with alarming regularity the blurring of the lines between the right to freedom of speech and of the press and the abuse of those rights.
This, the Chief Justice noted, “is constantly done through outright falsehood and invectives spouted out by print and electronic media institutions, talk shows, bloggers etc.”
He reminded the public here that the law gives the Supreme Court the authority to punish for any act which offends its dignity, as it is with all courts in other jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, the President of the Liberia Bar Association, Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould has concurred with the Chief Justice, encouraging the Supreme Court to take strong and concerted actions, under the its contempt power, to legally deal with citizens and residents who would cast shadow on the integrity of the court.
By Winston W. Parley