BRIEF REMARKS BY HER LADYSHIP THE CHIEF JUSTICE DELIVERED AT THE INTRODUCTORY COURSE ON CYBERCRIME AND ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE FOR JUDGES HELD IN ACCRA FROM OCTOBER 24-26, 2023 AT LA PALM BEACH HOTEL
Mr. Massimo Mina, Head of Cooperation EU Delegation
DG of Cyber Security Authority
My Lords, Honours and Worships
It is a pleasure to be here today for this training workshop on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence as part of the activities scheduled to mark the 2023 edition of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).
I would like to extend my appreciation to the Cyber Security Authority and its partners, the European Commission, the West African Response on Cybersecurity and Fight against Cybercrime (OCWAR-C) Project, and the Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY)+ project for consistently assisting the Judiciary with the requisite training programs for purposes of strengthening capacity in the adjudication of cybercrime and management of electronic evidence for criminal trials.
The internet has been a useful tool in enhancing productivity and simplifying various aspects of human life. The Judiciary has not been left out in the digitalisation agenda with the introduction of the e-justice system, the implementation of virtual courts, and the installation of video conferencing facilities for trials among others.
This very same tool however has been a cause for great distress in view of the fact that it has provided an avenue for many people to commit various cyber dependent and cyber enabled offences on conceivable scales. With the development of emerging technologies, the situation get more precarious as the modus operandi of criminals are enhanced by each new development.
It is evident that given the nature of cyber transactions which are transborder and multifaceted, various stakeholders including the Judiciary and other criminal justice sector actors ought to have resources in fighting cybercrime particularly, to enable success in prosecution and adjudication of cybercrime and cases requiring electronic evidence.
It is therefore a step in the right direction to consistently organise training workshops such as these to build the capacity of the Judiciary in understanding the ever-changing issues and trends surrounding cybercrimes and the admissibility of electronic evidence to effectively try these cases.
Furthermore, there is the need to build the capacities of several criminal justice actors to be able to handle all the processes necessary for effective adjudication as well as enforcement of the various relevant legislation that have been passed to combat cybercrime and cybersecurity cases.
The Judiciary therefore looks forward to collaborating with the Cyber Security Authority, its partners and other member institutions of the Joint Cybersecurity Committee in implementing the various measures required to fight cybercrime through the adjudication of cybercrime cases and enhance the admissibility of electronic evidence in our courts.
While we are considering the unique enclave of cybercrimes and the principles needed to effectively manage electronic evidence, I wish to engage all Judges in the following discussion.
Let us throw our learning scope with regards to electronic evidence wide, as we focus on evidence required to establish cybercrimes.
Let us appreciate that the issues of E-Law now stretch to virtually every arena of life that humanity is engaged in. E-commerce and trade, E-contracts, IP of software, hardware, licensing regimes, E-torts etc. Judges must develop
- New evaluation skills with appreciation of the landscape of E-law
- New working skills – Ability to move away from technophobia. Manage working in E-space with E-communities, communication, writing and leadership skills in E-space.
When does a court’s jurisdiction over a show organised virtually with collaborators from ten different countries arise? How do you calculate damages and other penalties? Are the old age principles that undergirded the grant of discretionary remedies still relevant in activity conducted online? Can you give injunctions on the basis of established principles?
Appellate Jurisdiction of High Court – Judicial Review
Since we are the ultimate interpreters and appliers of law and so shapers of it, I ask that you guide your learning with engagement, development of hypothesis, cross evaluation of all aspects of relevant law and keen awareness of the intersectionality of law. I am looking forward to our developing a strong and large faculty on electronic evidence out of this seminar. A faculty that will assist all our colleagues – higher and lower – on all critical scopes of the subject of E-law, cyber activity, virtual training and digitalisation of justice delivery.
Please do not hesitate to let the Director of JTI know which area of law you would like to participate in curriculum and faculty development.
Do not think that any area is too small a slice or too large a scope. A training strategy that provides for curriculum development, faculty development and as broad a range of orientation, training and other capacity building opportunities that every member of the Judiciary needs will soon be done. I look forward to the Judicial Service of Ghana and the Judiciary of Ghana becoming the center of knowledge and learning that we ought to be, and the Judicial Training Institute becoming a Regional Center of Excellence. Online Masters in E-law for as many Judges as possible.
Thank you very much to our partners, collaborators, and all colleagues.
Have an invigorating time of learning.