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27.03.2007 Obituaries

Farewell, Justice Acquah

It is painful that the Chief Justice, Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, should die at this time when the Judiciary, of which he was the head, needs so much reform.

Indeed, as an ardent believer in reforms, he made a number of moves which he was convinced would make the Judiciary redeem its sinking image.

He knew that the Judiciary was confronted with logistic and human problems which had combined to undermine the integrity of the institution, but he was not daunted because he saw the problems as a challenge which needed to be confronted head on.

Such was his fervour for the reforms that wherever he spoke he made news. What he said was also not mere rhetoric or an attempt to win public approval but he acted on them. In short, he backed his words with action.

Justice Acquah was not happy about the numerous cases which were pending before the courts and it was his desire that judges and magistrates would clear them in no time.

It was with the same spirit that he favoured alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and specialised courts.

He saw no wisdom in holding an investor, local of foreign, to ransom over issues which could be resolved within a reasonable time period.

Equally, he did not think there was any justification in delaying an offending motorist for days when the case could be thrashed out in a few hours.

It was that spirit which motivated him to believe in specialised courts, such as the commercial and motor courts.

Justice Acquah wanted his men and women to work assiduously so that justice would be administered as expeditiously as possible. He was not happy with those who unnecessarily delayed in writing their judgements.

He appreciated the problems which the contestants in a case went through and saw the need to ease those problems so that they could have confidence in the Judiciary.

Recently, he acted quickly on reports that some courts in the Brong Ahafo Region did not have magistrates and judges by sending some there to man those courts.

He was a man who was committed and dedicated to his work and wanted to see dramatic changes in the institution. However, Death, the master of all it surveys, would not allow that noble objective to come to fruition.

Certainly, Justice Acquah was a human being supervising a good number of people in the Judicial Service so, in all probability, he might have offended some people in the discharge of his onerous and weighty duties. We are of the belief that he must be forgiven on that score.

We extend our condolences to the bereaved family for the great loss to themselves and the nation.