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Judges and Magistrates trained on C.I 91

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JudgesJudges and Magistrates have been asked to give expeditious hearing to election related matters to enable aggrieved parties  make the necessary appeals if need be.

They are also to handle such cases with utmost humility, respect, integrity and competence as well as give equal opportunities for all to be heard.

Justice Jones Dotse, Chairman of the Election Taskforce Committee and Justice of the Supreme Court   made the call during a day’s training  workshop on  Public Election (Registration of Voters) Regulation , 2016, (C.I91) for selected  Judges  and Magistrates held  in  Elmina

The workshop organized by the Judicial Service and sponsored by  the Department for International Development (DFID) was attended by selected magistrate , Circuit and High court judges  from the central and western regions .

It is to sensitize the Judges on the effective enforcement of the Public Election (Registration of Voters) Regulation 2016 C.I 91.

The regulation mandates judges to adjudicate electoral disputes that arise during the registration, exhibition of the voter register and other electoral offences.

Justice Dotse who is also the Board Chairman of the Judicial Training Institute said judges were the few privileged in the country given the power to determine whether someone had committed an electoral offence or not and urged them to use the power given them to execute their duties  in a diligent and transparent manner.

He urged them to follow due process in their work and give equal opportunity to all to be heard and that accused persons should be allowed to be heard.

Justice Dotse explained that most of the offences in the regulation could be heard by district courts  but  however cautioned that  those    that cannot be handled at the lower courts should be referred to the appropriate court for  the  appropriate decisions to be taken on them.

He said though the there were no much differences between the PNDC Law 284 and the C.I 91 it was imperative for them to critically study the new regulation to enable them take the appropriate decisions.

Speaking on electoral offences and sanctions Justice Baffore Bonnie, a Justice of the Supreme court and member of the Election Taskforce urged the Judges to be careful in handling electoral issues since the least mistake could spark trouble.

He noted with concern that the country has been polarized and all Ghanaians were looking up to the Judicial Service to give them a “soothing balm”.

Justice Bonnie urged them to be independent, and ensure integrity, transparency in the performance of their duties and should endeavour to be on top of issues.

Justice Kwesi Dapaah Cape Coast Supervising High Court in his welcoming speech underscored the important role of Judges play in electoral disputes   and urged them to effectively and efficiently execute the laws to ensure harmony before, during and after the elections.

He asked them to brace up themselves for the task ahead and critically study the CI 91 to enable them make informed decisions when electoral offence cases are brought before them.

Justice Dapaah said the Judiciary play a critical role in all aspects  of democratic governance of which elections is part  of the process and urged them to take the workshop seriously.

Source: GNA

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