Magistrates advised to use their powers rightly


The Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, has advised newly qualified career Magistrates to use their powers rightly and properly before the law.

Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood

She said no one, especially; the disadvantaged in society must suffer injustice at their hands and later seek a restoration of that justice through the appeal process.

?This must not happen,? she added.

Mrs Woods was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of a professional Magistrate and 21 newly qualified Career Magistrates in Accra on Tuesday.

The Career Magistrate Programme is a two-year programme for non-lawyers to be trained as Career Magistrates to occupy vacant positions in district courts.

She called on them to bear in mind that the position they occupied was a privileged one and that it was not an opportunity for them to be demi-gods in their areas of jurisdiction but rather of supreme service to God and the citizenry.

Mrs Woods said the judiciary was the last bastion of good governance and rule of law in any democracy, indicating that their actions and conduct on the bench would be closely monitored and evaluated by the society.

The Chief Justice said it was the responsibility of the judiciary as the lead law enforcement agency and in accordance with the justifiable expectation of the public to live above reproach so that they could effectively be used as instrument to hold others accountable.

She urged the newly qualified Magistrates to be particularly wary of any influence, which would undermine their ability to fight the canker of corruption.

?Your conduct both in and outside the court room must conduce with the highest ethical and moral standards,? Mrs Woods said.

She said the Judicial Council would not shirk on its responsibility to sanction anyone who misconduct himself and bring the judiciary into public opprobrium.

Justice N. S. Gbadegbe, Director of the Career Magistrate Programme, called on the new Magistrates to continue to read to update their knowledge of current developments in the law.

He urged them to remember that although the courts were not as well-endowed as those in developed countries; the quality of justice that the public expects from Magistrates was in no way different from that of better endowed jurisdictions.

He said they should not rush to judgment but rather consult and seek guidance from those who by their experience have had to resolve such issues previously.


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