Liberia’s Supreme Court has jailed a security officer working at the Roberts International Airport or RIA – Levi Johnson, for a week, after finding him guilty of contempt charge.
Officer Johnson was detained for disgracefully ordering Associate Justice Sie-A Nyene Yuoh out of a restroom at RIA last Saturday, 26 March. According to Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., the treatment to which officer Johnson had subjected Justice Yuoh was disrespectful and unprofessional.
Justice Korkpor said Johnson’s one week jail sentence was endorsed by all five justices on the Supreme Court Bench. The RIA Security Officer was immediately placed under the custody of the court officers as his commitment was being prepared to begin serving his jail sentence at the Monrovia Central Prison from yesterday, March 30 up to April 5.
The high court narrated how officer Johnson came banging on the rest room door, forcibly ordering Justice Yuoh out, despite being told by his junior officer, James Ballah at RIA, that he (Ballah) had permitted her to use the restroom.
In a very disturbing narrative, Chief Justice Korkpor emphasized that officer Johnson came banging on the restroom door, and when Justice Yuoh came out to inquire what was happening and then introduced herself as Associate Justice, Officer Johnson yet ordered her out, saying: “my sister, leave this place…”
At the time of the incident, Justice Yuoh had gone to the airport to receive a relative when she requested junior officer Ballah’s permission to use the airport’s restroom. During the contempt hearing on Tuesday, March 29, the Friend of the Court, Cllr. Emmanuel Dunbar, had recommended that officer Johnson be incarcerated for two weeks at the Monrovia Central Prison, for his action.
But his lawyer, Cllr. T. Negbalee Warner, had acknowledged the defendant’s wrongdoing and expressed apology; but court ruled yesterday that it could not purge Johnson of contempt for the
intentional disrespect against Justice Yuoh. The management of the RIA, including former Senate Pro Tempore Gbezohngar Findley – now RIA Board Chairman, had also expressed regrets for the action, and supported the court for some actions to be taken against the defendant, including a one month suspension.
Johnson had also apologized for his wrongdoing, saying his action was wrong and will never be repeated.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by George Barpeen