Liberia’s Permanent Representative to International Maritime Organization (IMO), Atty. Isaac W. Jackson Jr., has sharply reacted to a press conference of January 23, 2020 by Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson, describing Cllr. Johnson’s action as misleading and deceptive.
The reaction by Atty. Jackson follows Cllr. Johnson Press Conference in which the counselor claimed withdrawal from the case before the Supreme Court, involving Liberia Permanent Representative at the IMO, Atty. Jackson.
In his press conference recently, Cllr Johnson also said one cannot undo that which does not exist: the evidential and documentary response to atty. Isaac w. Jackson, Jr, “so-called dismissal-conflict of interests” of Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson as legal counsel. Cllr. Johnson explained during his press conference that “On Monday, April 22, 2019 at 2:58 P.M. Cllr Arthur T. Johnson withdrew from the legal representation of Mr. Isaac W. Jackson. Jr. because of the contemptuous action of Atty. Isaac W. Jackson, Jr. against the Supreme Court of Liberia to include the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the High Court.
“On the same date, April 22, 2019 late in the evening hours of 10:04 P.M., Atty. Isaac W. Jackson, Jr. replied Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson accepting the withdrawal of legal representation from his case before the Supreme Court of Liberia,” Cllr. Johnson said, adding that the matter with his withdrawal was settled when Atty. Isaac W. Jackson, Jr. got engaged in what he called “an unknown campaign spread in both print and electronic media as well as social media that he dismissed Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson as legal Counsel from his Case on “so-called Conflict of interest”.
But Atty. Jackson debunked claimed by Cllr. Johnson that he was never sacked by Jackson as he (Johnson) himself withdrew from the case. Jackson said “contrary to Cllr. Johnson’s meaningless prevarications, he wrote Cllr. Johnson two separate communications pertaining to Johnson’s decision to unceremoniously withdraw from the case.”
The first letter, Mr. Jackson said, was on April 22, 2019 which acknowledged Cllr. Johnson’s withdrawal, while the second letter on May 9, 2019 requested him to reinstate himself because he was in violation of the law. Contrary to the Rule of Court, Cllr. Johnson failed to adhere to the advice. Hence, Jackson calls on Cllr. Johnson to honestly address himself to his letter dated May 9, 2019.
Accordingly, Atty. Jackson explains that following Cllr. Johnson’s Press Conference of April 22, 2019, notifying him about his withdrawal, he (Jackson) instantly replied Cllr. Johnson the same very day (April 22, 2019) accepting his withdrawal notice with thanks.
“However, following a two-week period of research, Jackson says he realized that Cllr. Johnson’s notice of withdrawal was not grounded in law. Hence, he wrote Cllr. Johnson a second letter dated May 9, 2019, asking Cllr. Johnson to reinstate himself, a letter Cllr. Johnson is maliciously concealing from the press. Jackson wonders why Cllr. Johnson is trying to destroy himself in this manner.
Jackson further said that it is shamelessly embarrassing that Cllr. Johnson would twist the facts and subsequently brag about representing him for little money. Former deputy minister Jackson argues that even if Cllr. Arthur Johnson was rendering a pro bono service, he (Johnson) was still legally bound to be professional and ethical in his work as a lawyer at all times.
Jackson is aware that his friend, Cllr. Johnson is unhappy about his dismissal, but said it does not warrant such kneejerk reaction on the part of Arthur Johnson.
According to Isaac Jackson, the decision to dismiss Cllr. Johnson was extremely difficult for him. However, Jackson said he was constrained to dismiss the counselor in the wake of the Supreme Court’s continual recognition of Cllr. Johnson as his lawyer by virtue of the court’s invitation, requesting him to appear and argue on his behalf on January 15, 2020.
Atty. Jackson also explains that the most recent invitation from the Supreme Court was indicative that the Court did not accept or recognize Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson’s withdrawal in keeping with the legal maxim that “what is done contrary to the law, is considered as not done.” So Jackson said he had to politely relieve Cllr. Johnson from the case, and appoint a new counsel in person of Human Rights lawyer, Cllr. Finley Yujay Karngar to continue with his prohibition case.
It can be recalled that on May 9, 2019, Mr. Jackson wrote Cllr. Johnson advising him to kindly reinstate himself to his (Jackson) representation, and directed the Counsel to reach out to the then Solicitor General, Cllr. Daku Mulbah, as per His Honor, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor’s instruction to ascertain the renewal status of diplomatic passports in my favor and those of my dependents (wife & two kids under ten years old).
He also advised that his counsel Johnson formally inform the court of the Government’s repeated inherent violations of the Court’s order and the continual abuse of Jacksons fundamental rights and those of my family.
Following the letter requesting reinstatement in May, Mr. Jackson on January 21, 2020 issued a press release in which he has “with immediate effect relieved Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson of his post as his legal counsel representing him at the ongoing Prohibition Case before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of Liberia,” citing what he referred to as “conflict of Interest” which he said was “consistent with Rules 8 and 9 of the Code for the Moral and Ethical Conduct of lawyers.”
According to Jackson, Johnson can no longer make effective representation for him in the ongoing Prohibition Case, considering that the counselor now Heads Government’s Asset Recovery Team, which effectively bars him from arguing against the Government of Liberia”.