According to the Most Reverend Dr Robert Allotey Okine, Archbishop Emeritus of the Church of Province of West Africa, judges must be guided by the aphorism “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely“ in their dispensation of justice.
He was speaking at the special church service held last Saturday at the Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Accra to open the new legal year which commenced yesterday.
“As representatives of the third arm of government, you wield tremendous power, power that can determine an individual or a family’s fate in life. Power that can build or destroy,” he said.
Quoting the late professor William Chadwick, a former professor of history at the Cambridge University, Rev Dr Okine added: “the possession of unlimited power corrupts the conscience, hardens the heart and confounds the understanding” contending that such a position ended in tyranny.
In contrast. he entreated them to be the salt and light of their practice to stay on the right path.
The annual service ushering in the 65th legal year was attended by judges, lawyers, traditional leaders, the clergy and other stakeholders in the justice system who gathered to seek God’s strength and guidance for the new legal year.
Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, Attorney-General Godfred Yeboah Dame, President of the Ghana Bar Association, Yaw Acheampong Boafo and Director at the Ghana School of law, Yaw Oppong were also accounted for.
Speaking on the theme “Improving Legal Access to Justice in a pandemic through the use of technology” the retired Bishop of the Koforidua Diocese of the Anglican Church, indicated that technology was one of the ways God wanted mankind to solve problems and this had been made manifest by the coronavirus pandemic.
He exhorted the judges on ten tenets to guide their practice which included admonition on not sacrificing integrity to expediency, being careful about people they associated with and being consistent in their utterances and actions.
In a message, the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, revealed that training in ICT and other related programmes have been planned to make the justice system more robust, dependable and acceptable.
Prayers were also offered for departed judges and lawyers who passed on during the last legal year.