The presiding Bishop of the Methodist Conference, Most Reverend Prof. Emmanuel Asante has called on judges and lawyers to make justice accessible to the poor.
This, he noted, would promote a fair and impartial administration of justice to all manner of persons without discrimination.
Prof. Asante made this statement when he delivered a sermon at a special church service for the opening of the 53rd Legal Year under the theme ‘Access to Justice- the Citizens Participation in the Administration of Justice’.
According to him most People in the rural areas were unable to access justice because it was expensive emphasizing that a right justice system would create opportunity for the poor.
The bishop, who based his sermon on Deuteronomy 6 verse 18-20, observed that justice must be accessible to all and reflect divine righteousness. This, he said, could be done if the stake holders brought justice to the doorstep of every individual.
He observed that justice had become beneficial to those in the urban areas. He asked that all forms of justice system should be protected by strengthening customary authorities such as chiefs and church leaders, to give justice to those who could not afford the formal system.
According to him, poverty contributed to the weak knowledge of basic rights, reminding the judiciary and the bar of their duty to educate citizens on their basic rights.
The bishop, who stated that a man’s poverty should not be an excuse for injustice, observed that corruption in the judiciary was one of the factors that had constituted injustice and therefore called on the lawyers and judges to help fight this canker.
He asked the judges to fear God and administer the right judgment at all times without fear or favour for God to shower His blessings on them.
The Chief Justice, Mrs. Geongina T. Wood, In a goodwill message also stated that in as much as the constitution guaranteed every citizen the fundamental rights and freedom, it imposed duties on every citizen of Ghana to cooperate with lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order.
“Democratic governance, access to justice and poverty reduction are links in the chain to developing a stable and economically sound nation. It follows that without the active support of all citizens, the judiciary’s fervent desire to uphold equal and effective justice would remain a mirage she stated.
According to her, the judiciary’s success required the co-operation of all the various actors such as the police the courts, the prosecutors, social workers, prison official, community leaders, lawyers, traditional rulers and citizens who sought the services or courts.
She added that it was important for all Ghanaians to see the judiciary as their partner for development.
The ceremony was attended by judges, lawyers and the 128 newly enrolled lawyers who came to thank God for crowning their efforts with success.
Source: Daily Guide