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27.03.2007 General News

CJ's death, blow to judiciary

By Gilbert Boyefio

"A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic,” said Joseph Stalin, this quote aptly describes what many Ghanaians, especially those in the judiciary, feel about the death of the 11th Chief Justice of Ghana, since independence, Justice George Kingsley Acquah.

Justice Acquah passed away Sunday, March 25, at the 37 Military Hospital. He had been battling Leukemia, a cancer of the blood or bone marrow for some years.

Benjamin Kumbour, Member of Parliament for Lawra/Nandom said the death of Justice George Kingsley Acquah is a big blow to the Ghana Judiciary, adding, “It's more saddening because it comes at a time when the country is struggling to come to terms with recent death of other influential Ghanaians.” Mr. Kumbour was also surprised by Justice Acquah's death, “I knew he was sick, but never thought it would end his life”.

He described the late Chief Justice as a very “good and inspiring Judge”, who's passage would be greatly missed in the judiciary. He had professionally known the late CJ from the time Acquah was an appeals court judge.

Mr Kunbour also said one of the Justice's works that would be for ever remembered was an article he wrote in the review of one Ghana Law report on customary law crime, saying his work helped to bridge the gap between Ghana's traditional laws, and its current ones.

Mr Kunbour observed that judgments passed by Justice Acquah, during his practicing days, were always well researched.

K B Asante, who attended the same Anglican church as the late Justice expressed shock at his death.

He disclosed that Acquah was preparing to be a priest before he was appointed to the Chief Justice position.

Mr Asante says at the time Justice Acquah took office there were many problems in the judiciary, but the CJ did his best to solve them. “Public perception about the judiciary in those days was very poor, but (the CJ) tried his best to change that”, he added.

Mr Asante challenged the President to appoint someone to the Chief Justice position who will be able to carry on with the good works of his predecessor.

Mr Acquah was appointed Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana on June 20, 2003.

He was born in Sekondi on March 6, 1942 and attended Adisadel College, Cape Coast, from 1957 to 1963 for both his West African Examination Council Ordinary and Advanced Level Certificates.

He proceeded to the University of Ghana, Legon in 1964 to 1967 and obtained a BA (Hons) Philosophy. Between 1968 and 1970, he studied and obtained LL.B. Hons in Law from the same University.

From 1970 to 1972, Justice Acquah entered the Ghana Law School where he obtained his Professional Certificate in Law and was called to the Bar in 1972.

His employment record included private Legal Practice from 1972 to 1989; High Court Judge from 1989 to 1994; Appeal Court Judge from 1994 to 1995 and Supreme Court Judge from 1995 to date.

Justice Acquah was the Chairman, Budget Committee of the Judicial Service; Chairman, Judicial Service Reform and Automation Committee and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education of the Judicial Service of Ghana.

Other positions he held included Chairman, Disciplinary Committee of the Judicial Council; Chairman, Funeral Committee of the Judicial Service; Chairman, Tender Board of the Judicial Service and Member of the Judicial Council of Ghana.

Mr Justice Acquah was also the Chairman, National Multi-Sectoral Committee on the Protection of the Rights of the Child; Member, Rules of Court Committee; Member, Appointments Committee of the Judicial Council and Member, Africa Regional Council of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

He was a Member of the Governing Council of the Ghana Legal Literacy and Resource Foundation; Patron, Commonwealth Legal Education Association, London; Honorary Legal Adviser of the International Planned Parenthood Federation; Editorial Advisor, Banking and Financial Law Journal of Ghana and External Examiner (Law of Evidence) Ghana Law School.