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General News of Monday, 24 June 2002

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Justice Archer laid to rest

The former Chief Justice and Member of the Council of State, Mr Justice Philip Edward Neequaye Kwesi Archer was buried at the Osu Cemetery in Accra, on Saturday. The late Chief Justice who was 77 years old died on 10 May this year at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

A state funeral service was held at the forecourt of the State House attended by dignitaries including Vice President Aliu Mahama and his wife Mariama, former President Jerry John Rawlings, Members of the Council of State, Ministers, MPs, the Diplomatic Corps, the Bench and Bar and people from all walks of life.

Alhaji Mahama led the dignitaries to file past the body in a black casket draped in national colours on a platform bedecked with flowers and wreaths and consoled the bereaved family while the Ghana Armed Forces Central band and mass choir of the Anglican Church provided music.

The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) staged a mock trial with Mr Johnny Hansen as the Judge and later filed past the body. Vice President Mahama laid a wreath on behalf of the government and people of Ghana, Mr Justice Edward Kwame Wiredu, Chief Justice on behalf of the Judiciary, Mr Joseph Samuel Appiah, Member of the Standing Committee and Synod Member of the Sekondi Diocese of the Anglican Church for the Church and Mr Samuel Archer, brother of the deceased on behalf of the family.

Six pallbearers from the Armed Forces carried the casket into a vehicle for a procession of the clergy, relatives and sympathisers to the cemetery for the internment.

Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Information and Presidential Affairs in a tribute by the government said the late Justice Archer spent his entire working life in public service describing him as a selfless, devoted and dedicated jurist who was "fearless in the dispensation of justice". He said the late Chief Justice was a distinguished lawyer, eminent jurist and an incorruptible judge during his 30 years in the Judiciary, which was a legacy worthy of emulation.

The Judiciary in a tribute read by Mr Justice George Acquah, a Supreme Court Judge, described him as a "gentleman and scholar of no mean repute, straight forward, truthful and honest" and said he left a blue print in the judiciary. Mr Paul Adu Gyamfi, President of the GBA said the late Chief Justice was a pillar and a firm believer in the rule of law.

He said that because of his long association with the Judiciary he sought the welfare of members of the Bench, Bar and the entire judicial service. "The greatest tribute we can pay the late Justice Archer is that our Judicial Service would be transformed into an efficient and viable service, which will dispense justice to all manner of people without fear or favour"

The Right-Reverend Andrew K. F. Okoh, Bishop of the Sekondi Diocese of the Anglican Church in sermon said, the late Justice Archer was an excellent legal adviser and counsellor whose good ideas would forever remain with the Church and Ghanaians. He fought a good fight as a faithful servant of the nation and the church to ensure that both institutions prospered, the Bishop said.

Rt-Rev Okoh said people could be instruments of change when they rendered "laudable and committed services" to their country, community and family.

The late Justice Archer was Chief Justice from 1 April 1991 to 22 February 1995. He joined the judiciary as a temporary clerical assistant in 1945 after working in the administration section. The late Chief Justice graduated in Law in 1953 and was called to the Bar in 1957 in England. He returned to Ghana on the eve of independence and was appointed Assistant Registrar General. He was promoted Judicial Secretary in March 1964.

In April 1964, he appointed as a High Court Judge and became an Appeal Court Judge in October 1969. In September 1980, he was promoted to the Supreme Court and went on voluntary retirement in September 1983, but was named Chief Justice in 1991.His wife, Sheba Elizabeth, five sons, two daughters and 16 grandchildren survive him.

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