A court in France has announced a six-month suspended jail sentence for George Weah Jr., the elder son of Liberian President George Weah, for reckless partying, noise pollution, and disturbing the peace of his neighbors outside his Paris home.
The President’s son, George Weah Junior, 33, was handed a six-month suspended jail sentence by a French court for “Ibiza-style” parties at his home in an upmarket Paris suburb and also ordered to pay 20,000 euros (US$24,000) to his neighbors after more than two years of parties that were described as “unbearable” by one plaintiff’s lawyer.
According to Radio France International, President Weah’s son was taken to court by his neighbors because of regular wild, noisy and disturbing parties at a private home in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a quiet, chic suburb on the north-western fringes of Paris.
The dozens of parties, Radio France said, spanned a period from 1 January 2019 up until 14 February 2021 including one bash that had people shooting fireworks from the terrace of his home.
“This is the first warning but there won’t be a second,” said Judge Pascal Humbert-Massa at Versailles criminal court. “It was not a small issue but a crime. And you haven’t done anything to decrease the volume, whether it’s the music or your guests shouting. Now things need to calm down.”
Essentially, Weah Jr. won’t go to jail, provided the complaints against him stop. But he will not escape the fine that must be paid to his aggrieved neigbours.
A number of the neighbors who testified said that they had been woken up about 50 times by music. They said they had tried to come to an amicable solution with 33-year-old Weah before they started calling the police, according to Le Parisien.
The court was told that between September 2019 and February 2021, officers went to Weah’s house 10 times during the early hours of the morning to ask him to turn down the music.
Twice he invoked diplomatic immunity with his Liberian passport, which does not cover him. According to AFP news, the suspended prison sentence was longer than expected, but lawyer Ludovic Tardivel, acting for one of Weah’s neighbors, called it “justified” and “an example.”
“My clients have suffered more than two years of parties as if they were in a nightclub, Ibiza-style… we’re not talking about little evenings between friends,” Tardivel told AFP.
“Ibiza-style parties” are named after the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, Spain, which has a reputation as one of the top places to party in the world, with thumping 24-hour clubs and wild pool parties.
Weah was arrested in Paris in February at a party in a rented apartment in central Paris in breach of a nation-wide curfew that is in place in France because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The arrest, allegedly for verbally abusing police officers, led to revelations in the French media about complaints from his neighbours in the normally quiet suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
“Every time the police come for the noise, he gets his diplomatic passport out,” one unnamed neighbour told Le Parisien newspaper in February.
Others recounted evenings of loud electronic music at the 150 m2 apartment, drunken shouting from the balcony, as well as aggressive behaviour.
Another neighbour described the parties as “boom-boom music, with girls and champagne.”
Weah Junior signed for his father’s former club AC Milan as a 16-year-old and was selected in the Liberian national squad in 2017, but he spent most of his playing career in lower European leagues in Switzerland and Greece.
Le Parisien newspaper described him as unemployed and on the verge of starting a course in sports management.
“We are in front of an individual who puts his interests before those of society and who has no limits,” said lawyer Sophie Nizard, speaking on behalf of two plaintiffs. “It reminds me of the term ‘child king’.”
Neighbours complained Weah and his friends pumped up the volume and caroused throughout the nights during the week depriving them of sleep before going into work.
And during the Covid-19 confinement, one neighbour said the number of parties had gone up to four per week.
Weah, who had been living off a large monthly allowance from his father, claimed that he had made the mistake of lending his place to friends when he was away.
“They didn’t respect me,” added the former footballer.
Prosecutors had asked for a three-month suspended prison sentence but the judge opted for a heavier punishment.
He said that the repeated noise issues had an impact on the health, personal and professional life within the neighbourhood.
In addition to his suspended prison sentence, Weah was ordered to pay 21,400 euros divided between the six civil parties for non-pecuniary damage.
In response to his arrest earlier this year, the Liberian President’s son denied the allegations leveled against him by his neighbors as “totally false” and that the French police who arrested him executed their job very badly.
“So basically what happened was that I went to visit my friend before protocol hours … 18 00 hours,” George Weah, Jr., told the AnalystLiberia, a local daily in Monrovia on Feb.5, 2021. “I am somebody who doesn’t really roam freely a lot because we are living in a pandemic.”
He added: “I have written that there was no party and there’s no proof to that. That’s how I got clear of the issue because I have proof that there was no party. I was falsely accused of being drunk; but I was not drunk at all; I respected the sanitary measures; I have on my mask and my gloves. The only thing that I did was that I left before the sanitary time; that’s the only thing.”
“I have been living in France for many years; I have always respected the laws – I have done things with a lot of humility, with a lot of discipline,” the President’s son added. “That’s the only thing I’ve done that was wrong — I left the place a few hours before the opening of the curfew time, but there wasn’t any party that was so perceived in their document.”
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