Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood has cautioned the citizenry to stop interfering in cases pending before the courts or risk being prosecuted.
The Chief Justice described as criminal the situation where some persons approach court staff and presiding judges to influence the outcome of cases.
This was contained in a speech read on her behalf at the inauguration of a High Court in the Obuasi municipality of the Ashanti Region.
The High Court, which will be presided over by His Lordship Justice Charles Gyamfi Dankwah, has a supervisory, appellate, and original jurisdiction over the magistrate and Circuit Courts within the Adansi area.
An Appeals Court judge, Sir Dennis Adjei, who read a speech on behalf of the Chief Justice, said: “We are to administer justice to all manner of people irrespective of status, wealth, height, religious affiliation, or position. We shall administer justice to all manner without discrimination. Having said this, we are sending a word of caution that nobody should make any attempt to approach any court staff for any assistance. The power to adjudicate is vested in the judges and the magistrates. We don’t want anybody to approach anybody in response to a matter that is pending before a court for favour. If you do that, it is a criminal offence, and you will be prosecuted accordingly.”
The Chief Justice also warned against mob attacks.
“The court as we know is the only body to exercise judicial powers. Apart from the court, no other body, no other person, no other organ, has the power to exercise judicial power. Somebody exercises judicial responsibilities or judicial function, but when we talk of judicial power, it is only the judiciary. That is why as at now we have the District Court, the Circuit Court and the High Court. This is an indication that now Obuasi is fully equipped with all the courts and we are armed to entertain any matter arising within the jurisdiction. Please, this is an advice: we have courts, we should put a stop to self-help activities that somebody has stolen something, then we are beating the person to death. Please, an end must be put to self-help – that is the essence of vesting judicial power in the judiciary to be exercised for and on behalf of the people of Ghana,” Mrs Woode stated.