General News of Thursday, 7 August 2014

Source: GNA

Integrity is most critical factor in good governance - CJ

Chief Justice Georgina T. Wood has noted that integrity is the most critical factor in good governance and national development, and entreated members of the Judiciary to show this exemplary virtue for the progress of the nation.

Mrs Georgina Wood said this on Tuesday, at the swearing in of three High Court Judges and nine Circuit Court Judges at a ceremony in Accra.

According to her, judicial independence does not confer on office holders the license to behave as they wish or purpose, it rather places a high demand on judges to show good judgement in and out of the courtroom.

The High Court Judges includes two women while the nine Circuit Court Judges had four females.

The Judges, some of whom were from the Attorney General’s office and Private Legal practitioners with others promoted from Circuit Courts, went through examinations and interviews conducted by the General Legal Council.

The CJ and Mr Justice Jones Victor Dotse, a Supreme Court Judge, administered the Oath of Secrecy and Allegiance, and Judicial Oath on the Judges.

Mrs Wood also handed over to the High Court Judges Instruments of Appointment after signing the Oath Book meant for new justices.

She noted that although Judges enjoy some immunity, the Judicial Council would not hesitate to apply the law when the need arise in cases of misconduct.

According to her, it has been said that some Judges and Magistrates are often intoxicated by judicial powers they exercise under the Constitution.

“Constitutional protections are not intended to feed our egos; our pride and comfort or assist us establish kingdoms for ourselves,” she pointed out.

While upholding judicial integrity, Mrs Wood told the Judges that under no circumstance should they soil their hands with corruption.

Mrs Wood said the nation is in dire need of public officers imbued with a high sense of integrity since there is an increasing demand for greater accountability and transparency on the part of public officers.

Dr Dominic Ayini, Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General noted that the appointment of the Judges was no mean achievement and urged them not to disappoint the country and the Judicial Service.

Dr Ayini also admonished them not to turn their chambers into dungeons, but must adhere to the Code of Conduct of their profession.

According to him, they should also avoid issues of corruption, adding if the judiciary loses its role as morale conscience of the country, then the nation would be in trouble.

Sir Justice Dennis Agyei, President of the Association of Magistrate and Judges entreated the Judges to do away with the abuse of judicial discretion particularly in injunctive and bail cases.

“The use of bail as punishment should cease forthwith,’’ he told the Judges.

Justice Agyei told the Judges that the Association is ready to support those who promote the cause of justice and disown those who pervert justice.

Nene Amegatcher, President of Ghana Bar Association (GBA) noted that the Judges were being sworn in at a critical time when the face of civil and criminal litigation is changing worldwide.

The GBA President said managerial role of the Judge is the emerging trend in the justice system in many countries across the globe, noting that “gone were the days when Judges sat by for parties and lawyers to dictate the pace of the litigation game."

He therefore pledged the GBA’s unflinching support to the bench in their quest to change the face of civil and criminal justice delivery.

The Justices of the High Court were Mr Justice Samuel Obeng-Diawuo, Mrs Justice Hafiscata Amaleboba and Mrs Hannah Taylor.

The Circuit Court Judges were Mrs Mariam Saleh Sinare, Mrs Cynthia Wiredu, Mr Kwame Polley, Mrs Roberta E. Otriso and Mr Frank A Rockson.

The rest are Mr E. Essampong Ayesu, Mr Frederick Tetteh, Mrs Rita Abrokwah Doko and Mr F.A.W.K Nawurah.