The Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo, has warned court officials to desist from preparing legal processes for court users as they were not lawyers with the requisite skills to engage in such activities.
She stressed that their roles so far as the judicial processes were concerned were clearly spelt out and thus were overstepping their bounds if they offered those services to court users who were often ignorant.“Registrars and other court officials prepare petitions, applications, affidavits, statutory declarations and yet they do not know the law and end up creating problems for people,” she said.
Speaking during the Chief Justice Community Sensitisation Programme, which coincided with the inauguration of a Circuit and District courts at Atebubu in the Bono East Region, Justice Torkornoo also warned court officials not to demand bribes before performing their duties or risk being sacked, as well as face the full rigour of the law.She, therefore, encouraged court users to report any errant court official directly to the Judicial Service or through the public complaints unit located at the courts for investigations and appropriate disciplinary actions against such officials.
The Chief Justice said any act of corruption, extortion and unprofessionalism by court officials not only affected the effective administration of justice negatively but also had the potential to discourage people from using the court system to seek redress.Such a situation, she added, could derail the peace and tranquility of the nation.
“We must ensure that no one feels discouraged or reluctant to use the law. Sometimes, it is because of the traumatising experiences in court that people do not want to use the court.
If we do our work well and work efficiently, our country will be more peaceful,” she said.
“We must not only be fair and just, but must be seen by all to be so, so that people will feel confident in seeking redress from these buildings and what they represent,” she added.
Inaugurating the new Circuit and District courts, the Chief Justice lauded the Atebubu-Amantin Municipal Assembly for sponsoring the edifice through its internally generated funds.The new court complex has en-suite chambers for the Circuit Court Judge and District Magistrate, Registrar’s office, recorder’s office, cashier’s office, docket room, bailiffs’ office and washrooms for staff and court users.
The inauguration was attended by dignitaries, including the Judicial Secretary, Justice Cynthia Pamela Koranteng; the Bono East Regional Minister, Kwesi Adu-Gyan; the Member of Parliament (MP) for Atebubu-Amantin, Sanja Nanja and the President of the Bono East Regional House of Chiefs, Nana Pimampim Yaw Kagbrese V.Giving the history behind the construction of the new court, the Chief Justice said in 2018, the then Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, upon a visit, declared the old Atebubu District Court as not meeting the standards befitting a court and also not fit for purpose for justice delivery.
The Chief Executive of the Atebubu-Amantin Municipal Assembly, Edward Owusu, said the new court complex would improve justice delivery and promote socio-economic development in the municipality and beyond.Previously, he said people in the municipality who needed the services of a circuit court had to travel to either Wenchi or Sunyani, while the police also had the challenge of transporting suspects out of the municipality to face the law.
The new court complex, he said would not only serve the people of the municipality but other neighbouring districts of Yeji and Kwame Danso.For his part, Mr Adu-Gyan urged the municipality to observe a proper maintenance culture to keep the court facilities in good shape.