He said “the situation where Judges proffer judgments on the basis of decisions from Lower Courts and cite them as law is not acceptable and even less so, when Judges cite no authority at all for their rulings and give orders without reason.” According to him, it is thus important that Judges, more so Justices of the Supreme Court be learned, know their case law and ensure their decisions and judgments are properly written.
President Akufo Addo further expressed worry about lenient sentences meted out to persons caught in the destruction of the environment and pollution of water bodies, telling them to use their discretion for “the upper end of the band”.
“It continues to be a source of worry that persons, for instance, caught in the act of destroying our environment and polluting our water bodies, the very inheritance of our future generations because of the phenomenon of illegal mining, popularly referred to as galamsey get away with lenient sentences. The media landscape is replete with accounts of persons who steal goats, for example, receiving sentences of not less than two years in prison. Yes, the sentences are meted out in accordance with the Criminal Offences Act, but I believe invariably there is discretion for the Judge within a certain band. I suggest that in certain cases the discretion must be exercised for the upper end of the band that is for the maximum.”
He appealed to the Chief Justice to encourage the Judiciary to consider providing sentencing guidelines for all Judges, in the use of its practice directives.
On behalf of his colleagues, His Lordship Justice Samuel Marful-Sau thanked the President for the confidence reposed in them. He pledged they would work to protect the Constitution and the laws of the country. “We assure the nation that we shall discharge our judicial function diligently, mindful of the judicial oath we have just taken,” he said.
Prior to their appointment to the Supreme Court Bench, His Lordship Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau and Her Ladyship Justice Agnes M. A. Dordzie were both Justices of the Court of Appeal, whereas His Lordship Nene Amegatcher was a private legal practitioner and former President of the Ghana Bar Association with His Lordship Justice Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey being a former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana.