Liberia’s controversial Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Attorney Isaac Jackson has been suspended from practicing law in Liberia for one calendar year.
According to a writ issued by the Supreme Court of Liberia, Attorney Jackson is suspended from legal practices for his unprovoked verbal assault and insult directed at Chief Justice, His Honour Francis Korkpor, said act which the writ describes as “highly contemptuous and reprehensible.”
“That the extraordinary writ of prohibition will not lie where the act complained of is within the authority of doer and no wrong rule was applied in the performance thereof and that the unprovoked verbal assault and insult by Attorney Isaac Jackson (the petitioner in this case) directed at the Chief Justice of this Court is highly contemptuous and reprehensible; his letter of apology quietly written to the Chief Justice did not go far in making amends for such unwarranted act; for this egregious act, Attorney Isaac Jackson is hereby suspended from the practice of law in the Republic of Liberia for the period of one calendar year, commencing from the date of the judgment in this case,” the Supreme Court handed.
The High Court also ordered the suspended Attorney to write and publish letters of apology to the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court and the entire judiciary and publish said apologies three times in succession in two local dailies, warning that failure to execute said mandate within three months, the suspension imposed on Attorney Jackson shall be automatically turned into permanent disbarment from the practice of law in Liberia.
“When this case was called for hearing, Counselor Wesseh A. Wesseh, Assistant Minister for Litigation, Ministry of Justice, appeared for the respondent; no counsel appeared for the petitioner. Because the case has remained pending before this Court for protracted period, and since all required papers, including the petition, the returns thereto, as well as the briefs of the respective parties have been filed, the requisite rule of the Supreme Court was invoked to enter upon the records and make a determination,” Supreme Court narrates.
The Court laments that for the effective operation of government, the Legislature, in the exercise of its authority granted by the Constitution may create an institution or agency of government and makes it independent from the overarching executive influence, impact or interference of the presidency by giving tenure to its members.
The court continues that this action in no way violates the power granted the President of Liberia under Article 56 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia to appoint officials of government both in the military and civil authorities who hold offices at the will and pleasure of the President.
“that while the Liberian Maritime Act of 2020 gives tenure of five years to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of Liberia Maritime Authority, the position of Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization is not a deputy commissioner; the occupant of that position holds the statue of diplomat, who may be recalled or removed by the President of Liberia at will; therefore, the petitioners, who was appointed Permanent Representative to the IMO is not entitled to tenure,” the Supreme Court opines.
Attorney Jackson, who was appointed to the Mission by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, had filed a petition before the Supreme Court, challenging President George Manneh Weah’s nomination of Moses Owen Browne to the post on grounds that he(Jackson) occupies a tenure office and therefore, could not removed abruptly.
Meanwhile, Attorney Jackson has responded to the Supreme Court opinion, noting that it appears that not only has the Court denied his cause, but also effectively denied him an alternative form of livelihood without the benefit of a hearing. This he argues, is an apparent violation of the principles of natural justice.
“Obviously, my family and I are disappointed, and feel unfairly treated. But such is life”, he expresses in a dispatch to this paper late Monday.
“I have requested my lawyers to be served a copy of the Opinion of the Honorable Supreme Court to which I am justly entitled. This will enable an informed guidance of my next course of action”, who previously served as Deputy Minister of Information for Public Affairs during the administration of former President Sirleaf .
By Ben P. Wesee–Editing by Jonathan Browne