Police authorities in Monrovia have welcomed the guilty verdict handed down in a traffic violation case involving Liberian Journalist Octivan Williams and the Liberia National Police. The case was adjudicated on Friday, July 12, 2014 at the Traffic Court, at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
The police said the case won in a court of competent jurisdiction sent a clear cut message to the public that no one is above the law and admonished all living within the country to be law abiding.
The LNP said the issue raised by the Police against the journalist was not on the basis of mere malice as it is being construed by some members of the public especially the media community, but on the basis of law.
A statement released in Monrovia over the weekend under the signature of the Chief of Press at the Liberia National Police said the police as a legal institution will not get involved with acts that tends to remind Liberians of the ugly past in Liberia’s history where the Police was used as an instrument of terror against peaceful citizens.
The legal battle between the LNP and the journalist ensued when the latter was arrested by police for violating traffic regulations and lawful instructions from the police officers who were directing traffic along the Gurley Street belt at which time he allegedly assaulted the Deputy Director of Police, Col. Abraham Kromah, a case that is pending before court.
Mr. Williams who was investigated by the Crime Services Division of the LNP was also charged with Assault Section 14.21 and Disorderly Conduct Section 17.3, of the Penal Law of Liberia.
While in the traffic category he was charged with improper parking Sec.10.80, failure to yield to police lawful instruction Section.10.3, operating unregistered vehicle Section.3.1, and a non-insured vehicle Section.4.4 and operating a vehicle without a driver’s license.
The Traffic Court at the Temple of Justice has meanwhile fined the journalist seventy five United States Dollars (USD75.00.00) to be paid into government revenue within the next 24 hours or risk being arrested and placed in a common jail.
At the same time the LNP has expressed shock over the manner in which the Press Union of Liberia is handling the ongoing legal process, stressing that the Union has taken a biased posture in defense of a citizen that contravened the laws of Liberia.
The LNP said the recent description of the matter as being a “classic harassment” on the part of the police against the journalist was unfounded and admonishes the PUL to be prudent in its utterances whenever it involves union members and the public.
The police statement said while it has no intent to muscle media members or any member of the public it will not allow any inch of lawlessness/ hooliganism on the part of anyone regardless of status in the society, and called on the Press Union of Liberia to retract such statement unconditionally as it does not reflect well of a watch dog group who should be transparent and impartial in dealing with issues.