By R. Joyclyn Wea
The Monrovia City Court has adjudged former executive of the Liberia National Police (LNP), James Cooper guilty of the crimes of criminal malevolence, menacing and sent him to a year imprisonment.
On July 30, 2018, a writ of arrest was issued for the crimes of criminal malevolence and menacing against the ex-fighter, James Cooper in favor of the private prosecutor Senator Sando Johnson; the matter was called for hearing and in so doing, the state produced three witnesses: Sando Johnson, Johnetta Stewart and Trokon Hill.
Witness Johnson testified during that hearing that he is a Senator of Bomi County and that on June 4, 2018, he received several text messages forwarded to him by Johnetta Stewart and Nana B. Hill.
He further testified that he felt threatened by the defendant who sent the text messages given that the defendant is a former police man who carried arm saying that “the text messages were a direct threat to me and my family as a result of which I filed a complaint to the Liberia National Police.”
The court, having examined the evidence and testimonies of witnesses, stated that defendant Cooper admission reflects vital incriminating evidence; the court noted that indeed defendant Cooper maintained a false version of the occurrence when he said that he spoke figuratively.
“From all of this, it is certainly warranted in concluding that the defendant acted in the belief to put fear in the private prosecutor, injure his reputation thereby undermining his official status. The state met and established prima facie evidence that the crimes were committed by the defendant by providing its case beyond reasonable doubt required by law,” Judge Kennedy Peabody noted in his judgment on November 13, 2018.
The state second witness, Johnetta Stewart took the stand and testified that “defendant cooper became angry when Senator Johnson appeared on a local radio talkshow and said that those who had already benefited from the stimulus package including defendant Cooper and have not pay should be investigated to ascertain their potential to repay before being considered for subsequent loan.”
According to Stewart, she had received the message from defendant Cooper which she forwarded the messages to Senator Johnson because of the caveat statement made by the defendant that he is an old cop and that she is aware that the defendant carries a gun, and that in her presence the defendant had use the gun on his pet, so she was afraid that the defendant would do something negative to Senator Johnson’s life.
The defendant admitted sending the text, but argued that same did not constitute any threat at all, but rather the content of the text message was figurative expression.
He holds that the text messages do not in any way threaten the life of Senator Johnson nor did it terrify him or his family and that the senator was never obstructed from going to work.
In light of the circumstances, it is also the holding of the court that the evidence adduced by the state met the legal standard.
“Hence, the defendant is hereby found adjudged guilty of the crimes charged and he is to be turned over to the Sherriff of this court and be incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison for a period of one year certain, the clerk is ordered to communicate with the Monrovia Central prison regarding this ruling. And it is hereby so order,” the verdict.