Liberia: New Dawn Newspaper Publisher Summoned in Connection with Reportage on Sable Mining Bribery Trial

New Dawn publisher Othello Garblah

Monrovia – Criminal Court C Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh has summoned the publisher of the New Dawn Newspaper Othello B. Garblah for Contempt of Court.

Judge Gbeneweleh summoned the Liberian Journalist based on his newspaper’s Tuesday, July 9, 2019 front page story captioned, “Plot To Exonerate Defendants?”.

But the legal counsel of the New Dawn publisher appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded with Judge Gbeneweleh to postpone the hearing of the case to Thursday, July 11, 2019.

The summon was issued on the local daily’s publisher Garblah on Tuesday, July 9, hours after the story hit the newsstand.

“You are hereby commanded to summon Othello B. Garblah of the New Dawn and cause him to appear before this Honorable Court (Criminal Court ‘C’) on Wednesday, July 10,2019 at 2: PM. to show cause why he should not be held in Contempt of Court for the caption: ‘Plot To Exonerate defendants?’ which appeared on the front page of the New Dawn, Vol. 9, NO. 133, on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, which front page thereto carries the photos of His Honor Joseph N. Nagbe, Associate Justice [of the] Supreme Court of Liberia, and His Honor Peter W. Gbeneweleh, Assigned Judge, Criminal Court ‘C’, the summon said.

The story also drew the attention of the public and many condemned the Associate Justice, asserting that it impugned the credibility and transparency of the court in the Sable Mining bribery case currently being tried at the court.

In the story, the paper wrote: “Information reaching this paper indicates that there is an ongoing serious lobby to put certain witnesses on the stance in the Sable Mining bribery scandal case that would vindicate defendant Varney Sherman and others.”

The story continues: “The news follows the visit of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe at the criminal court on Friday where three of his former colleagues – defendant Senators Varney Sherman, Morris Saytuma and former House Speaker Alex Tyler have begun testifying in the trial.”

The story of the visit of Associate Justice Nagbe to the Criminal Court ‘C’ was earlier published By the FrontPageAfrica Newspaper on Monday, July 6, under the caption: “The Nagbe Influnece?: Justice Nagbe Suspicious Visit to Court “C” During Sable Mining Hearing Raises Eyebrows.

The story was published after Associate Justice Nagbe on Friday, July 5 2019 paid a surprise visit to the court during Sable Mining Bribery Scandal hearing.

Justice Nage, who is currently the Justice in Chamber, visited the court when Sen. Sherman [co-defendant] was being crossed examined.

His visit then prompted Judge Gbeneweleh to pause the trial and escorted the Supreme Court Justice into his chambers, where they spent about 20 minutes behind closed doors.

However, it is unclear what they discussed.