Hot Pepper Publisher Philipbert Browne Released From Prison On Bill

 Defendant Browne salutes colleagues before he was sent to the Monrovia Central Prison

Defendant Browne salutes colleagues before he was sent to the Monrovia Central Prison

The Publisher of the Hot Pepper Newspaper, Mr. Philipbert Browne who was arrested and detained last Friday by the Civil Law Court on the charge of libel was this afternoon released to his lawyers after filing the appropriate bond to secure his release.

Mr. Browne release on bond was also made possible through the intervention of the his legal team and one of his sons who worked hard around the clock to secure the Hot Pepper Publisher release from prison.

Last Friday the Hot Pepper newspaper publisher was arrested and detained at the Monrovia Central Prison after his paper published a story which the guardians of a 14-year old girl  accused Bong County District # 2, Prince Moye of raping their daughter in 2014.

The Hot Pepper Publisher was sent to jail on Friday at the Monrovia Central Prison for ‘Action of Damages for Libel’ against Bong County District #2 Representative Prince Moye, who is the plaintiff.

Rep. Moye is the Chairman of the House Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Development and an Executive Member of the House of Representatives.

Browne was thrown in prison on the orders of Resident Judge Yusiff D. Kaba for failure to post bail against the plaintiff’s complaint or pay damages to plaintiff in an amount of no less than US$5million.

The Writ of Summons also commanded the Sheriff to arrest Alfred G. Togbah, Publisher of the People’s Newspaper, Jah H. Johnson of the Hot Pepper Newspaper and Windell McIntoch of Margibi County, and jail them should they also fail to post bail or show property (ies) to cover the plaintiff’s damages.

According to the plaintiff’s complaint, a copy of which is in our reporters’ possession, prior to the defendants publishing the libelous story on numerous occasions, Rep. Moye was reportedly threatened by text messages from Togbah and McIntosh allegedly extorting money and blackmailing him under the guise that “there was a damaging story against the plaintiff and that plaintiff would cause the story to go away if the plaintiff could buy the story from the defendants, and the failure of plaintive to give what was demanded by the defendants, there (would) be newspaper publications defaming the plaintiff.”

“Plaintiff says as a result of his refusal to succumb to the co-defendants, Togbah and McIntosh’s demands and blackmail scheme, the defendants, Philip Bright Brown, Publisher, Hot Pepper; Alfred G. Togbah, Publisher, People’s Newspaper; Jah H. Johnson, writer, Hot

Pepper; and Wendell McIntosh, published newspaper stories in two newspapers on separate occasions against the plaintiff, which lacked elements of truth and were only intended to defame, tarnish, degrade, embarrass, inconvenience, and cause the plaintiff emotional distress, mental anguish, frustration, and degradation, pain and sufferings,” the writ said.

The story was carried under the title, “Lawmaker Allegedly Rapes Teenage Girl” – “Victim’s Mother Vows to Pursue Legal Actions,” But Rep. Moye Rebuffs the Claim.”

The Writ of Summons charged the defendants “for blackmail scheme and engaging in publishing libelous and untrue and defaming stories against the plaintiff in these proceedings. Plaintiff says that the sole intent of the co-defendant’s action is to seriously defame and tarnish the good earned reputation of the Plaintiff.”

As for the publisher of the People’s Newspaper, Alfred Togbah, the writ said the co-defendant “purposely, recklessly, and with absolute disregard to decency and social norms and values, as well as journalistic ethics, decided to malign, defame, tarnish the good earned reputation of the plaintiff through blackmail for the purpose of tarnishing, degrading, stigmatizing the plaintiff in the eyes of the plaintiff’s admirers.”

The writ said co-defendant Jah H. Johnson is also a member of the blackmail scheme.

The writ said co-defendant Wendell McIntosh was the mastermind of the blackmail scheme against the plaintiff. It is alleged that McIntosh had written unfounded stories against the plaintiff in several newspaper publications, all intended to defame the plaintiff for their own political objectives.The guardians of the girl  who is now 16in 2014.

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About Cholo Brooks 15844 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.