Chief Justice Sophia Abena Akuffo has warn that any judge or magistrate caught in any act of misconduct or unprofessional conduct will not be spared and they would be dealt with swiftly in accordance with law.
Ms Akuffo said the importance of maintaining a high moral character constituted the hall mark of every Judicial Officer adding that “as Magistrates maintaining a high moral character is an honour.”
The Chief Justice said this when she sworn in the first batch of nine professional career magistrates comprising four females and five males at a ceremony in Accra.
The magistrates were employed by the Judicial Service as career magistrates. They undertook study leave and pursued the law degrees as well as attended the Ghana School of Law. They also underwent interviews and their various judgements were assessed.
The Chief Justice drew the attention of the magistrates to the nation’s peace and stability noting that the “peace and stability was not sustained by wishes. They are largely as a result of the confidence people have in our legal and administration of justice regime.”
Ms Akuffo said “it is not our job to please, but if done right, our decisions must bring satisfaction. This requires extreme dedication, integrity and unyielding adherence to the code of conduct for Judges and Magistrates.”
She said a robust judiciary needed in equal measure good quality laws, statutes and judges and that a good judge decides cases on their merits and within the confines of the law.
“A good quality judge is motivated by the search for justice for all- victim and aggressor, complainant and defendant and that judge conducts proper case management.
Our job is to lead various actors in the court room in the united pursuit of truth and justice guided by the principles of equality and fairness.”
The Chief Justice told the magistrates that as part of her tenure, she was committed to the improvement of conditions of service of the judiciary.
“This commitment manifest in our efforts to improve the infrastructure and conditions of service and training of staff.”
Ms Akuffo said the judiciary would not continue to accept “horrible working environment anymore.”
She appealed to magistrates and judges to also take interest in what is happening around the courts by ensuring that courtrooms were sanitised and dockets are well kept.
“Push your Registrars to get results,” she declared.
Ms Akuffo entreated magistrates to take part in the Judicial Services continuous legal education in order to abreast themselves with trends in the law profession.
Ms Gloria A. Akuffo, Minister of Justice and Attorney General in speech read on her behalf urged the magistrates to uphold the Constitution by dispensing justice without fear or favour.
Ms Akuffo said as ambassadors of the judiciary, they were also to keep lawyers on their toes by reading their case dockets and conduct research before sittings.
Mr Tony Forson, who represented the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), urged the magistrates to be conversant with the law in order to earn respect from the bar.
Mr Forson said the GBA and the Judiciary would however not hesitate to crack the whip when any member misconducts his or herself.
Mr Justice Victor D. Ofoe, President of Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana congratulated them and urged the magistrates to work hard so they could be promoted to become Circuit Courts judges due to their newly acquired status as lawyers in the field.
Ms Saeed Aliata on behalf of the Magistrates expressed her appreciation to the Judiciary for allowing them to undergo study leave with pay.
Ms Aliata said the confidence reposed in them would not be misplaced as they were going to work had to improve on the image of the judiciary.
The Magistrates are: Saeed Aliata, Osman Abdul-Hakeem, Juliet Osei Duedu, Devine Kwaku Ahiadu, Eric Daning, Linda Amissah Priscilla Yeboah Kweku Baah Frempong and Kofi Owusu Sekyere.