Chief Justice justifies contempt summons to Dormaahene

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Judges who remark on ongoing court cases may be subject to contempt charges, according to Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo.

Speaking at the 7th Annual Legal Ethics Training Programme sponsored by the African Centre on Law and Ethics (ACLE) at GIMPA’s law faculty, Justice Torkornoo argued that since judges’ conduct rules forbid them from discussing cases in front of the courts, they should be cited for contempt more quickly if they violate the rules.

She emphasized that when it comes to refraining from making public remarks that could affect the result or fairness of ongoing legal proceedings, judges should be held to the same standards as regular individuals.

She stated, “If we could call an individual for contempt before any court for discussing a case in court, then we ought to haul a judge even faster.”

She quoted a relevant portion of the code of conduct for judges to justify her call.

“‘A judge shall refrain from making any public statement that might reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court or any non-public statement that might substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing'”, she referenced, indicating to the audience: “As you can see, I am reading, that is part of the code of conduct on propriety”.

A few weeks ago, high court judge Dormaahene Oseadeeyo Agyeman Badu II pleaded with the president and attorney general to put an end to Assin North MP James Gyakye Quayson’s trial.

During the Prof. John Evans Atta Mills Commemorative Lecture in Sunyani on July 1, the Dormaahene made this appeal. In order to close the criminal case against Mr. Quayson, he quickly requested that a Nolle Prosequi be filed.

Source: Ghanatodayonline.com/Dominic Owusu-Ansah

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