Judicial Service staff asks for adequate security following attacks  

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The Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG) has called on the government to provide its members with adequate protection and risk allowance following recent attacks at the Tamale District Court. 

The association said security should be enhanced at court premises, especially during proceedings, to protect staff, judges, magistrates and clients. 

On August 28, 2023, some community members invaded the Tamale District Court to ensure that a drug peddler, whose actions were believed to be negatively impacting the lives of the youth in Tamale, was prosecuted, leading to a shootout. 

The association claimed that the Tamale incident, as well as recent reported assaults on court bailiffs, were reasons why JUSAG required adequate protection and risk allowances. 

Mr Samuel Afotey Otu, President of JUSAG, stated during the 2023 Judicial Service Staff Durbar and Open Forum in Cape Coast that the instances were a wake-up call for its members to be considered for risk allowances. 

“As members of the judicial service, it is our solemn duty to nurture and protect the justice system…We have an immense responsibility to shape the future of our nation by upholding the principles of justice and the rule of law. 

“As we do this and more, let us enhance security in our Courts to protect and safeguard staff, judges and magistrates and our clients,” he said.  

Mr Otu said the recent incident at the Tamale District Court was a wake-up call for the judiciary to review its security protocols. 

It also sends a signal that all service staff are at risk. 

“And with this inherent risk, provision of risk allowance should not be seen as too much for staff,” he said. 

Speaking on the theme, ‘Building the pillars of justice in the Ghanaian justice system,’ Mr Out said because a solid foundation of justice had been laid “it was incumbent on every one of us to build appropriate pillars to a successful future.” 

According to him, the pillars of the modern justice system for Judicial Service employees are infrastructure, technology, laws (including court rules, practice guidelines, policies, and values), and human resource development. 

“We have witnessed significant upspring of court infrastructure. The e-justice services are progressing steadily with virtual court hearings, and there can be said to be abundant laws, rules, and procedures to guide our operations.” 

Mr. Otu applauded the Chief Justice, her immediate predecessor, and the Judicial Secretary for their various roles in the approval and implementation of the service’s new salary structure. 

He stated that the difficulties encountered during pay and related allowance negotiations appeared to be a recurring theme every two years, adding that delays in the implementation of salary reviews distressed staff.  

“We are reassured by the pledge of My Lady Chief Justice to see to the immediate passage of the draft regulation into a CI…It is our fervent hope and prayer that the content of the draft will reflect key components of the 2012 Conditions of Service.  

“As a co-equal arm of government to Parliament, it is our further prayer that the Parliamentary Service Regulation, 2014 (CI 118), as well as the Legal Service Regulation, will be given due consideration in the Judicial Service Regulation,” he said. 

Mr Otu stressed the importance of ensuring that everyone, regardless of background, had equal access to quality justice. 

“As court officials, we must strive to eliminate all forms of discrimination, bias, or prejudice, and embrace inclusiveness in an environment where everyone feels heard, respected, and well represented.  

“Our mantra of ‘justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done’ is something we must all be mindful of. For JUSAG, our motto is justice and fair play and that must be at the core of our judicial system.

“This is the surest way to foster trust and confidence in the Judicial Service,” he said. 

The JUSAG president charged members to take the opportunity to continue to get involved in JUSAG activities and remain united. 

Source: GNA

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