Liberia: Prophet Key Risks Detention

20 February 2024

Monrovia City Court Magistrate L. Ben Barcon has ordered controversial Liberian social media talk show host Nayaborqua Oldpa Yeazeahn, alias Prophet Key, to file a valid criminal appearance bond or be detained.

Magistrate Barcon issued the mandate on Monday, 19 February 2024, giving the accused one day to file the bond.

the court issued the mandate after listening to a heated argument between the defense and prosecution in a case between Mr. Yeazeahn and Liberian Cultural Ambassador Julie Endee.

The Magistrate ordered that Yeazeahn files the valid criminal appearance bond or he will be arrested and detained at the Monrovia Central Prison or South Beach.

"This court has exercised the highest degree by giving the defendant a discretionary bond and this cannot continue absolutely," the Magistrate said.

In an action of damages for slander and libel filed against Mr. Yeazeahn, Madam Endee is demanding US$5m for allegedly defaming and humiliating her through his social media talk shows.

"In that respect, the defendant is giving up to 1:00 PM to submit a bond. Upon his failure, he shall be arrested at any location and detained at the Monrovia Central Prison pending the filing of the said bond," the magistrate stated.

The court added that failure on the part of the defendant to file a valid criminal appearance bond, it will approve the request for the state for a ne exeat republica to restrain him from leaving the country.

Meanwhile, on Monday, 19 February 2024, Yeazeahn appeared before Magistrate Barcon to answer the writ of arrest issued against him for the crime of criminal coercion, menacing, and disorderly conduct.

The charges are levied based on the complaint filed by Madam Endee. When the case was called, the defense invoked Chapter 12 Section 12.1 of the Civil Procedure Law of Liberia praying the court for a pre-trial conference to amicably resolve the matter.

In resistance, the prosecution prayed the court to deny and dismiss the application prayed for by the defense because it must be in good standing with the court.

The prosecution said the defendant's case file showed that he had not preferred a bond, and as such the request for pre-trial conference was an attempt to delay and baffle the proceeding.

Commenting on Section 12.1 of the Civil Procedure Law of Liberia, the prosecution noted that the provision provides for a pre-trial conference. However, the prosecution said such a conference must have a meeting of the minds of the parties.

"Wherefore and in the view of the foregoing, prosecution prays this court to deny the request for a pre-trial conference, order the defendant committed to a jail for disrespecting this court," the prosecution said.

The court however granted a pre-trial conference which did not produce its anticipated result.

The court then ordered the defendant to plead to the crimes brought against him which Yeazeahn did by pleading not guilty.

"At this stage, this court orders the clerk of the court to proceed with the qualification of prosecution's first witness, Madam Julie Endee to testify for and on behalf of the state," the court instructed.

Moments later, the prosecution prayed to the court for a continuance to prepare.

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