View Full Version : Threats to CJ: apology not enough – Law Lecturer

2nd July 2011, 11:51 AM
A Law lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Mr Ernest Kofi Abotsi, says he does not expect prosecutors in the case of the threat against the Chief Justice to drop the case even though the perpetrators have apologised.

He said merely apologising does not and cannot mitigate the crime committed by the Network of Social Democrats, who asked Her Ladyship Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to resign her office in 14 days or be forced out through a "narrow window" because her regime had failed woefully to maintain professional standards in the judiciary.

Following the threat, the Ghana Bar Association and the Chief Justice’s office lodged a complaint with the police and members of the group were invited by the police and provisionally charged with the offence of threat of death.

The group later apologised saying they didn’t choose their words carefully.

“We think that the heading that we gave to our press conference, the diction that we used and our tone was not appropriate to the office and person of the Chief Justice. We are apologising to the Chief Justice that we communicated in a way that was ambiguous and has been interpreted to mean a threat or use of violence to remove her from office and we had no such intentions. We don’t even have the ability to use such physical force or violence to get her out of office. It is never what we meant...” spokesperson for the group, Mr Rudolph Awuankwa told Joy FM.

But Mr Abotsi said the apology was not enough.

He said while the Attorney General’s Department can exercise its discretion and enter a nolle prosequi on the basis of the apology, “the mere fact that a person has repented for an offence itself doesn’t erase the offence.”

“I think that a threat against a very high sitting official of the state such as the Chief Justice is something that [should be taken seriously] especially in light of so many things that are happening as far as the judiciary is concerned,” he added.

Mr Abotsi said he was particularly worried with the development because “In many jurisdictions, the Chief Justice’s office is virtually the most sacrosanct when it comes to the political arrangement of a country and the reason is because when all of us have issues, the ultimate place we end up is the judiciary. Therefore [if] we bastardise the judiciary and we destroy the judiciary, I think a time is going to come when we have to settle our scores on the streets.”

In his view if people who threaten high profile personalities such as the Chief Justice are let go because they have either regretted or repented their actions, a dangerous precedent would be set.

“It is the deterrent effect of prosecution which must be looked at. If we are not careful and we do discontinue this [case] it might embolden others,” he cautioned.