Any honest, fearless, and patriotic Ghanaian worth their salt will bear with me if I assert that Ghana judges and almost the entire Ghana courts have by certain of their actions scandalized themselves. It is never by an individual saying stupid to a judge that has potentially exponentially tarnished the image of Ghana judges and the courts hence the resolute determination to crucify that person.
There are many behavioural instances by some Ghana judges and courts that make me personally believe that the Ghana justice system is performing very deplorably, far below their professional and ethical expectations. By their such actions, one clearly stands exonerated from blame when he/she emotionally or otherwise utter the word "stupid" against them.
How does a rational being see and understand a judge sentencing someone who has stolen ten Ghana Cedis (GHC10.00) to seven years jail term? This person may not have stolen the money by employing any offensive weapon against the owner. It was not done at the point of gun or knife to the head or throat of their victim yet, a Ghanaian judge found it all too well to convict and sentence the thief to seven years in jail.
Again, someone is allegedly sentenced to a jail term of twenty one years by a Ghana judge for stealing a laptop. Was the laptop holding State secrets, thus, highly confidential State information, the leakage of which will jeopardise the nation's security, safety and sovereignty?
A Ghana judge sentenced some people to jail for two to three weeks found guilty of contempt of court. What was their offence, one may ask? In their previous court case presided over by another judge, the judge said by word of mouth in court that he would play an evidential credible, permissible and acceptable video recording the plaintiffs had submitted to the court. However, out of the blue, but presumably under the usual nonsensical Ghanaian 'Order from above", the judge decided not to play the video at the appointed hearing date but ended up throwing out the whole case, although elements of infractions of corruption of gargantuan nature could well be established to have taken place as captured on the video.
When years later the plaintiffs made it public that once a judge promised to play a video they submitted him but eventually ended up not playing it, the defendants sued them for contempt of court. The defendants claimed the judge never said that so the plaintiffs must provide evidence that the previous judge did say he would play the video. Subsequently, another judge found the plaintiffs guilty of contempt and convicted them as said above.
Nevertheless, there are bigger and more serious cases that touch the core of Ghana and shake its very foundation as a nation, yet, the judges are not serious to dealing with such cases and individuals. Look at the case involving Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the self-styled sole financier of the NDC party who swindled Ghana of GHC51.2 million. This guy has over eight years been allowed to play delay tactics until about a week or so ago that some of his assets were auctioned to defray part of the money he conclusively stole from Ghana.
Why have the courts allowed for that unnecessary number of adjournments, delays and still not prosecuted Woyome for criminal offence but allowed him to be moving around freely in Ghana still playing on the minds of the judges?
We have this NDC National Chairman called Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo who evidence in the public domain attests to his hatched criminal plots against the safety, protection and security of both Ghanaians and Ghana. His plots are in implementation and manifestation as the evidence on the ground shows. Are people not being kidnapped, killed and insulted? Are some people not threatening the sovereignty and security of the nation by their secessionist agenda? Are all these not in conformity with Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo's criminal intent, yet the courts seem to be dealing with him wearing child's gloves?
Around 4th to 6th March 2020, a kindergarten male child of about two and a half years was kidnapped to be found no more from his school compound in Ntumkumso near Effiduase in the Ashanti region. Just three or four days ago, it was alleged on WhatsApp that a female child of three years had been kidnapped at Kumasi-Atonsu by a male stranger who served sweets to the group of children playing outside their home. He then carried away the child of three on his shoulder. The child has not been found as at writing. Are these not the exact things Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo and his NDC brigade of heartless political activists had planned to do to make Ghana insecure and ungovernable for His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his NPP Government?
If I talk about the courts, I mean the entire Ghana legal system with the Attorney General's office included. Why are all these unnecessary adjournments and delays by the courts to hearing and ruling on cases brought before them, only to empower criminals like Ofosu-Ampofo and Woyome to continually have a field day? Nonetheless, some people genuinely expressing their frustrations are harassed with criminal contempt of court. I clearly find this completely nonsensical to say the least.
Why should a 'will' case be sat on by three different judges, and allowed to pend before the High Court for over fifteen years without any sign of declaration of judgment any time soon? If the judges were credible and go by the stipulated laws in place, why this delay through completely preposterous adjournments and delays? Can one not smell a rat here?
If Ghana courts and judges have not scandalized themselves by their own corrupt attitudes probably induced by financial and material gains to twist justice in favour of the highest bidder, why would Anas Aremeyaw Anas get some of them sacked? Were their actions as captured on video and premiered in Anas' exposé on judicial corruption in Ghana not very stupid of the judges?
Finally, why would a lawyer advise a widow in litigation with her late husband's relatives over his properties as following, when another lawyer suggested to her to go and see the judge presiding over the case in his chambers?: "No, she should not go. Why do you advise her to go and see the judge in chambers? Don't you know that if she goes, he will propose to sleep with her and should she refuse, she has worsened her case?" It is these attitudes by the judges and the courts themselves that denigrate them but not by any aggrieved individual saying a judge is stupid that tarnishes the image of Ghana judges and the courts.
Again, why would a High Court judge in Ho, a few years back, advise graduating lawyers to be honest in the discharge of their duties, and went further to advise the public not to present goats, cats, dogs, cassava, etc. judges with intent to influence them? He said, if people don't gift such things to judges, judges will not be corrupt or be influenced. It is the public that tempts the judges to be corrupt, he meant.
Why should judges accept such gifts if they know very well that it will influence their decisions? And, why should they be influenced at all instead of applying the laws in place? If they allow gifts to induce them to pronounce verdicts in favour of those presenting them with gifts, then in the eyes of the law, they are stupid; period. They should know better.
In London, a former British government minister Chris Huhne was jailed over speeding fine lie. He advised his then wife Vicky Pryce, to lie that it was she who was at the wheels of his car but not him, when caught overspeeding. When he later divorced the wife, she spilled the beans, saying it was rather her husband who was driving the car but not her. Subsequently, they were both found guilty of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to jail terms. Will this ever happen in Ghana? No! Did the judge keep on postponing the case? No! Did the judge apply the law to him as he would to any ordinary citizen? Yes, he did!
Our failure to enforce the laws for our common good will always make us look stupid in the eyes of our neighbours.
In Europe or America, telling someone you are stupid, or, don't be stupid, is not that offensive but correctional. A child can tell his mum or dad "don't be stupid" but they don't see that as too offensive. Is it conflict of cultures that our Ghanaian parents and courts see using stupid on them is highly condemnable or contemptuous? Probably!
Saturday, 17 October 2020..