Liberia’s Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. has removed from the ongoing impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh Attorney -At – Law Bob Leewa, saying he is unqualified to plead case before the Chief Justice.
Taking the decision Thursday, 7 March to eject Atty. Leewa from the legal representation of the House of Representatives prosecuting Justice Ja’neh at the Liberian Senate, Chief Justice Korkpor notes Atty. Leewa could not proceed because he is not a Counsellor – At – Law to plead a case while he (Korkpor) presides.
A rather dejected Atty. Bob Leewa was seen leaving the chambers of the Senate shamefully after the Chief Justice drove him out of his presence.
Chief Justice Korkpor indicates that he just noticed Atty. Leewa is an Attorney -At – Law, saying he can’t plead case at the Supreme Court.
Further, Chief Justice Kopkor also disallows the rules and regulations introduced by the House of Representatives on Wednesday in the trial of Justice Ja’neh.
The introduction of the instrument on Wednesday, 6 March sparked tension in the trial after lawyers representing Justice Ja’neh complained that the documents were not part of the discoveries they received from lawyers representing the House of Representatives.
Justice Ja’neh is standing impeachment trial at the Liberian Senate for alleged proved misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, frauds, misuse of power and corruption.
One of the cases which triggered his impeachment trial relates to a land dispute involving the embattled Justice and a private citizen, Madam Annie Yancy Constance.
Associate Justice Ja’neh has been accused by lawmakers of using his influence as Associate Justice to secure a ruling in his favor at the Supreme Court to take possession of the land.
But during hearing on Thursday, Justice Ja’neh’s defense team says in 1996 when he bought the disputed land from Mr. J. Nyema Constance Jr, he (Justice Ja’neh) was then an employee of the Freeport of Monrovia.
Ten years after he bought the land, the defense team recalls that in 2006 Justice
Ja’neh got on the Supreme Court Bench as an Associate Justice.
The defense team informs the presiding officer, Chief Justice Korkpor that Mr. Constance, Sr., legitimized his son Constance, Jr. at the age of four because the latter was born out of wedlock.
When Mr. Constance, Jr. reached the age of 40 years, the defense team says his father Constance, Sr. gave him (Jr.) the property rights.
The defense team says it was after Constance, Jr. got the property rights from his father that he then went ahead to sell the land in question to Justice Ja’neh.
But in his testimony, prosecutors’ first witness Montserrado County Rep. Acarous Gray says, the wedded wife of Mr. Constance, Sr. told him (Rep. Gray) that she was not in the know of her husband legitimizing the son he had outside.
Further, Rep. Gray says Mrs. Constance also told him that she was not in the know that the land was given to Constance, Jr.
However, Rep. Gray says in his capacity as a lawmaker, he tried to negotiate with Justice Ja’neh to pay back his (Ja’neh’s) US$3,000 so that he (Ja’neh) could give back the land to Mrs. Constance.
But Justice Ja’neh’s lawyer Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson maintains that the lawmakers have no evidence to justify their quest to remove his client from the Bench of the Supreme Court.
Cllr. Johnson adds that laws are meant for lawyers to interpret, not someone, who is misunderstanding the law.
He notes that Rep. Gray was not answering questions rightly because he has no idea on the law.
By Ethel A. Tweh –Edited by Winston W. Parley