President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the “concept of deterrence" embodied in the Country's Criminal Offences Act, should be applied fully especially in areas of social concern, such as the fight against galamsey and vigilantism.


Recognizing the dictates of due process and the protection of human rights, President Akufo-Addo said though justice dispensed by the country's Judges as well as sentences meted out to offenders were in accordance with the Criminal Offences Act, the Judges had some discretion within the confines of the law to pass judgements on critical matters such as 'galamsey' to serve as deterrent.


“It continues to be a source of worry that persons, for instance, caught in the act of destroying our environment and polluting our water bodies, the very inheritance of our future generations, because of the phenomenon of illegal mining, popularly referred to as galamsey, get away with lenient sentences,” the President said.


President Akufo-Addo said the country's media landscape were daily replete with "accounts of persons who steal goats, for example, receiving sentences of not less than two years in prison.


"Yes, the sentences. I suggest that, in certain cases, the discretion must be exercised for the upper end of the band, i.e. for the maximum.”


President Akufo-Addo made this critical observation Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, when he swore into office 4 new Supreme Court Judges, at an event at the Presidency, the Jubilee House.


The Four Judges sworn in are: the immediate past President of the Ghana Bar Association, Nene Amegatcher, the former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Professor Emmanuel Nii Ashie Kotey, and two Court of Appeal judges; Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau and Justice Agnes M.A. Dordzie,


Congratulating them, President Akufo-Addo told the four judges that, having met the stringent requirements of Article 128(4) of the Constitution, it was incumbent on them to "have the independence of spirit, proven integrity, high moral character and impartiality of mind to hold this high office. Your appointments are truly well-deserved and merited.”


President Akufo-Addo said though Ghana's Constitution reposed the judicial power of the State in the Judiciary, central to the execution of the functions of the Judiciary rested with the Supreme Court.


He deplored the situation where judges proffered judgements on the basis of decisions from lower courts and cited them as law, describing it as unacceptable.


"Judges, more so Justices of the Supreme Court must be learned, know their case law and ensure their decisions and judgements are properly motivated,” he added.


Broad spectrum


President Akufo-Addo said then as Attorney General—2001 to 2003 in the Government former President John Agyekum Kufuor—he had the honour of nominating for persons onto the Supreme Court, with the approval of the President, distinguished jurists and academics.


These persons, he said, were Professor Samuel Kofi Date-Bah, the late Professor Tawia Modibo Ocran, and the late Professor A.K.P Kludze, three judges whose works made such a significant impact on the growth of the Court’s constitutional jurisprudence.


“I have continued in this tradition as President of the Republic, and, today, the immediate past President of the Ghana Bar Association, a distinguished practitioner, Nene Amegatcher, and the former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Professor Emmanuel Nii Ashie Kotey, have been appointed from the Bar directly onto the Supreme Court, together with two respected Judges of the Court of Appeal.,” he added.


This blend of persons on the Supreme Court, in his view, “will strengthen the development of our nation’s constitutional and other jurisprudence.”


Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)

Created: 04 October 2018
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