The chief justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, last Saturday presided over the new legal year thanksgiving service organised by the Judicial Service at the Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Accra.
The church service to officially open the 2016/ 2017 legal year was Mrs Justice Wood’s last ceremony as Chief Justice. She retires in June 2017, after successfully serving for 43 years as a judge, nine of which she served as the Chief Justice.
In a very joyous, thankful and worship mood, the Chief Justice mounted the podium of the Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Accra and expressed appreciation to God.
The only female Chief Justice in the history of this country enumerated the numerous blessings God had showered on her throughout her career.
“For nine good years as a Chief Justice, the Lord has been faithful. He has faithfully kept me, he has faithfully protected me and he has faithfully ushered me into this sanctuary to seek his favour, blessings and grace at the beginning of each legal year.
“And because this happens to be my last Legal Year Service in my official capacity as Chief Justice, I have come before the Lord to thank Him from the bottom of my heart for what He has done for me,’’ she said.
The Chief Justice added that “I am here to thank the Lord, so my brothers and sisters please help to thank the Lord on my behalf. Although I have eight more months to complete my service, this is rather the time when I need his grace and support more,’’ she said to the elated congregation.
The act of worship by the Chief Justice attracted rapturous applauds from judges, lawyers, the clergy and other participants who attended the ceremony.
The 59th legal year’s opening ceremony was on the theme “Responsibility and Accountability towards an Effective Justice Delivery System.’’
The event began with a procession of judges of the superior courts of the country to the Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity, where the church service was held.
It culminated in a cocktail party at the forecourt of the Supreme Court building.
Dr Dominic Ayine, Deputy Attorney General (left), Mr Benson Nutsupkui, President of the Ghana Bar Association (2nd left), Professor Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah, a former justice of the Supreme Court (2nd right), and other dignitries at the church service.
In a sermon, the Vice President of the Regent University College of Science and Technology, Reverend Professor Andrews Seth Ayettey, urged judges and other stakeholders in the justice delivery system to guard and protect the sanctity of the Judiciary.
He said judges must endeavour to live above reproach, since they were responsible for shaping the lives of many people and events in the country.
“The bitter lessons of the past legal year, including the expose on judicial corruption, teach us to vehemently stamp out corruption from the judiciary. Resolve to do what is right. But not because you are being watched but because that is the right thing to do,’’ he admonished.
Rev Ayettey, who is also a member of the Judicial Council, further advised judges to exercise their judicial independence in a responsible manner.
“Even though the law lies in the bosom of the judge, remember that as you judge, you also are being judged. You are being judged by your colleagues, lawyers, people of the country, your conscience and most importantly by the almighty God who has entrusted to you this great responsibility,’’ he said.
Some of the lawyers who spoke to in an interview said they were optimistic that justice delivery would improve during the legal year.
They said despite the challenges, particularly the image of the judiciary, they were hopeful that the systems put in place by the Judicial Council would yield results.