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21.10.2008 General News

CJ charges magistrates to live above reproach

By gna

The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Wood on Tuesday charged magistrates to be guided by their professional ethnics and live above reproach.

She said the integrity of the judiciary was key and as such should not be compromised since it may erode public confidence in the system and citizens would device their own quest for justice.

Mrs Justice Wood was speaking at the swearing-in of 18 new career magistrates in Accra.

The new career magistrates underwent and successfully completed a two-year course of study at the Ghana School of Law.

The new career magistrates are Mr Kwaku Twumasi, Erasmus Narh Addo, Cynthia Nuekie Nortey, Nasigre Joseph Hamidu, Benjamin Bennet Attabra, Baba Issahaku Iddi, Isaac Kweku Amoah, Felicia Anane-Antwi, Comfort Nsiah and Samuel Kwasi Agyei.

The rest include Alice Afua Sam, Sidney Braimah, Selorm Dzata Kuma, Rosemond Vera Aryeetey, Christian Hevi-Affuflu, Abdul-wahab Issah, Kaakyire Atta-Owusu and Thomas Soroyi Boadi.

Mrs Justice Wood urged the new magistrates to guard against unscrupulous members of the public who would want to compromise their integrity and resist their advances.

"On this occasion of your being sworn into office, I solemnly charge you to uphold the integrity of the judiciary at all times" she added.

She also called on the new magistrates to extend courtesy to lawyers and all those who appeared before them.

Mrs Justice Wood said the Judicial Service sometimes received compliants of gross disrespect shown to counsel by some non-professional members of the bench.

She said the war of words between magistrates and counsel or litigants and the misuse of coercive powers should be avoided.

Mrs Justice Wood advised the new career magistrates to exercise restraint in the course of their duties and lawyers also to show courtesy to non-professional members of the bench.

She charged the new magistrates to approach their work with professionalism and not to turn themselves into debt collectors for litigants.

"The rules have adequate provisions for protective aggrieved persons. Do not go beyond the dictates of the law to please anybody."

Professor Paaku Kludze, a retired Supreme Court Judge and Director of the Career Magistrate Programme, cautioned the new magistrates against doing things to tarnish the image of the judiciary.

He said their task as career magistrates was awesome and they must approach their duties with the best of professional conduct.

He said as members of the bench they must watch what they said and did outside the judiciary.