Our lives in danger – Judges & Magistrates
President of the Judges and Magistrates Association of Ghana, Justice Victor Ofoe, has indicated that judges in the country are faced with security and accommodation problems, apart from their salary issues.
According to him, most of the courtrooms across the country and the bungalows of the judges, have no, or proper security arrangement, a situation which he says endangers the lives of the judges and their families.
Justice Ofoe told Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Tuesday, 13 March that: “There are a myriad of problems facing judges. Accommodation issues, transportation issues, security issues. We have mentioned [several] times that about 90 per cent of the courts have no security, particularly the lower courts; they sit in there and no police presence in the court premises, no police presence in their bungalows.
“So, when you post a district magistrate to a mining area, no such security. So, these are some of the problems that we think should be resolved as quickly as possible.
“We had an incident where in the Western Region, I believe in the Enchi area, a gunshot went out in the court room, and the magistrate had to find his way out from the court room, eventually he was transferred from the place. As of now, nothing has been done by way of security, even for the new magistrate who has been posted there.
“You were witnesses to a recent demolition by a gentleman who claims he had bought a particular piece of land in Cantonment where a judge is residing, he just went there with a bulldozer and broke the walls. Of course, if there was security he wouldn’t have done that. This is even in Accra, Cantonment, about few kilometers from the Police headquarters and someone can go with a bulldozer to go and break the wall of a judge’s bungalow. So, these are some of the things that are a little worrying and they have been there for years, we have been fighting for years and we are not getting any positive improvement yet.”
Asked by Chief Jerry Forson if they feel their lives were under threat, Justice Ofoe said: “Yes”.
Justice Ofoe, however, indicated that a meeting was held with the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo on Monday, 12 March, where the issues were tabled before her.
“The Chief Justice is about to travel, we understand that when she comes back she will take up the matter most likely with the president.”