LIBERIA: Judge Files Lawsuit Against Popular Radio Caller In Nimba

Presiding Judge of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, Yamie Quiqui Gbeisaye

GANTA, (LINA) – The Presiding Judge of Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice, Yamie Quiqui Gbeisaye, has filed a ‘Criminal Coercion’ lawsuit against a popular radio caller in Ganta, Nimba County.

Mr. Arthur Gweh, a resident of Ganta, was sued for allegedly referring to Judge Gbeisaye as a “criminal” on a local radio during a phone-in program in Ganta.

Gweh allegedly made the statement on July 16 on a popular radio show aired on Radio Slehtorwah known as “Night Time Radio” when presenters of the show opened the lines to solicit the views of listeners on the topic under discussion.

The presenters of the show, Journalists Melvin Koboi and S. Martor Togbah, were discussing land dispute which is one of the topical issues being discussed on most radio talk shows in Nimba due to the wave of land disputes across the county.

The issue which landed the talk show host in trouble with the judge was a land dispute which recently ensued between Judge Gbeisaye and a Pastor known as Fred Johnson.

Speaking to the press in Ganta over the weekend, Attorney-at-law Lawrence Suah, who is representing the legal interest of Judge Gbeisaye, said the manner and form in which the basis of the radio show was set made it “sentimental” against his client.

“The way the July 16 radio discussion was set was sentimental against the learned Judge, and we think that was just wrong. It might not have been intentional but the way the basis was set created sentiment; and as a result of that sentiment today people got to fall into trouble,” Attorney-at-law Sua said.

“I know for fact that there was a particular person who called and referred to the learned Judge as a criminal and so the judge has hired my legal service as his lawyer to pursue the case,” Sua added.

He termed the alleged utterance of the talk show caller as “demeaning” and something that is in violation of Chapter 14 section 14.27 of the Criminal Procedure Law under the caption “Criminal Coercion.”

Attorney-at-law Sua noted that as legal citizens who see the law as that which guides every citizen’s manner, deportment and utterance, they deem it “very” necessary to file a lawsuit against the caller (Arthur Gwen) for ‘Criminal Coercion’ for the court to look into the matter and render its legal judgment.

He added that the court has taken some steps, even though he did not state the steps.

He threatened to issue a lawsuit against anybody maligning the reputation of his client as he is still keenly listening to the entire audio recording of the talk show.

“We are prepared to take to court, anybody who attempts to bring the character of the Judge to public disrepute. While it is true that you have your right, where your right ends is where another person’s right begins,” Attorney-at-law Sua maintained.

The Talk Show caller, Arthur Gweh, is said to be currently behind bars at the Sanniquellie Central Prison due to his inability to secure the appropriate Criminal Appearance Bond.

A verbal exchange of words on various radio stations in Ganta ensued between Pastor Fred Johnson, who is the General Overseer of the Christ United Heart For Soul Winning Ministry in Ganta about three weeks ago after he allegedf he and his workers were attacked by a group of men he accused of being citizens of Gbeisella Town over a land dispute  involving him and some citizens of Gbeisella, the home town of Judge Gbeisaye.

Pastor Johnson told radio stations in the county that the group of Gbeisella citizens mercilessly brutalized his workers who were carrying on his church construction on a parcel of land that legally belongs to his church.

It was during his radio interviews that Pastor Johnson accused Judge Gbeisay and others of being the masterminds behind the attack against him and his men, something that sparked a harsh reaction from Judge Gbeisay, who described Pastor Johnson as a “Common Criminal” who should be behind bars.

Judge Gbeisaye, in his reaction statement, also accused Pastor Johnson of being a “land thief” who is notoriously known for dubious land transactions in the county, asserting that he is being dragged into the land issue because of his name “Gbeisaye” and his attachment to the town as his place of birth and land of nativity.

But appearing on a local radio show on Tuesday, July 21, Nimba County Superintendent Nelson Korquoi called on citizens of the county to join him to appeal to Judge Gbeisaye to resolve the matter and have Mr. Gweh released.

According to Superintendent Korquoi, the two men involved in the issue are citizens of Nimba County and, as such, it behooves him as leader of the county to intervene, adding, “it is not by using power, but I am appealing to you all to join me to talk to the judge who is one of our senior citizens to have pardon on his kinsman, Gweh”.

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About Cholo Brooks 14907 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.