Undoubtedly one of the best lawyers in Ghana currently; it is a delight to watch Thaddeus Sory a Barrister-at-law with “Dery & Co”, shoot out of his seat in court to make known the premise of an argument in defence of a client. “My Lord”, he says, seizing to himself the attention of the adjudicator(s). With the gift of a good debater and experience in the law arena, he addresses the court in his unrivalled eloquence, building a strong foundation which reduces that of the opponent to a bog.
Mr Thaddeus Sory a senior partner at Dery & Co has been practicing with the law firm for eleven years. As a young man he did not give much thought into becoming a lawyer. He nurtured desires of working in the Foreign Service and hopefully in a francophone African country as he academically excelled in French.
Becoming a lawyer was informed by the advice from his school teachers who he treated to dazzling performances during activities of the debaters club and help from family friends like Ambrose Dery and his auntie, Jaclyn Sory.
Mr Sory’s basic academic experiences started in Bawku – North of Ghana – where he continued to the Notre Dame Seminary Secondary School and the Nandom Secondary School before entering the law school of the University of Ghana. Becoming a lawyer has been somewhat fulfilling and fruitful for him. “I don’t know in which other respect I could make a better contribution than in the law”, he said.
During his time in the university, Mr Sory held the position of the legal advisor to Akuafo Hall and then became the Electoral Commissioner of the same hall. He subsequently became the Deputy Electoral Commissioner of the university’s Students Representative Council and that of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS). He supervised the elections which saw the current Communications Minister, Haruna Iddrisu become the president of NUGS.
Other notable persons he worked with while in school include the Deputy Local Government Minister, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah; former Member of Parliament for Bawku Central and current Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Mahama Ayariga; Dr Atuguba of the UG law faculty and the Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Baba Jamal.
Thaddy, as his friends casually call him, was called to the bar in October 1999 after a two year professional training at the Ghana Law School. “Frightening”, is how he describes his first appearance in court to work on a case alone.
He recalls vividly that unlike the norm where a junior lawyer follows his/her senior to court in other to learn gradually, he was assigned to a case on the very first working day which succeeded the day he completed the law school. “I completed school on Friday and was assigned to a land case at a district court in Osu on Monday. I had to do it all by myself; for me it was frightening,”
His fondest memory of the numerous cases he has worked on lies in Gorman Vs. the Republic a “locus classicus” on the right of a suspect to bail. Though he lost the case, it will for a long time remain his single most satisfying venture as it occasioned the first documentation of his case in the law reports.
“As a lawyer you want to see your name in the law reports as having done cases. In this case the Supreme Court discussed extensively the right of a person to bail. The law report as such made lots of references to arguments I had made and I felt an impact was made for the purposes of settling the legal issue on the law on bail,” he said with a delightful disposition.
On the contrast, Mr Thaddeus Sory’s grief gains its roots in the outcome of a case, Henry Kwaku Owusu V. the Republic which involved narcotic drugs. He strongly feels in his heart that the court erred in its verdict which led to the conviction of his client. The stigma associated with the drug trade may have affected the court’s decision, he said.
Despite his exploits and matchless contributions to Ghana’s legal system Mr Sory will not seize the chance to engage in self-rating, taking refuge in the local adage which literally means, the one making the road is unaware how crooked the road behind him is.
Thaddy believes the legal system must undergo frequent and periodic minor reforms as there are certain legal provisions which by their nature soon become inconsistent with time while others turn to differ significantly in theory and practice.
“When you conduct cases in accordance with the law, you are able to see its drawbacks as you appreciate it in practical operation. The manner in which you address the court should give the court the opportunity to make recommendations that so far as a particular law is concerned parliament should do something about it.”
One such law, he hopes will get serious attention is the law on granting bail to suspected offenders. He said that law should be made more liberal; allowing the courts to grant bail to persons based on the facts of the case presented before it and not as it stands now prohibiting the granting of bail to offences like murder, robbery and narcotics.
“The law guarantees innocence unless proven guilty. Putting a suspected robber or rapist away for weeks is as though we have already pre-judged a situation where the evidence will go against the suspect.”
“Given that such persons sometimes remain in custody for three to five years when they have not been proven guilty, during which period their business and family suffer is unfair. I believe the power of the judge to grant bail should be expanded”, Mr Sory advocated strongly.
He only has but infant contemplation of joining the bench. He holds that his immediate interest is in making further contributions as a lawyer. Holding on to his key values including honesty, commitment and hard work, Mr Sory who acknowledges that every case provides a learning opportunity draws auxiliary inspiration from other senior lawyers like Ambrose Dery and Yuoni Kulendi who themselves have set various benchmarks worthy of emulation.
Mr Thaddeus Sory is a Catholic by faith and is likely to be found among friends in a football match when he finds time out of his busy schedule to have fun.