Chief Justice nominee, Justice Gertrude Araba Esabaa Torkornoo, has advised the public against the practice of giving monies to certain individuals to be given to judges to influence their rulings.
She said the supposed monies on many occasions actually do not go to the judges but end up in the pockets of the said individuals who collect them.
Answering a question during her vetting today [Friday, May 26, 2023] by the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Justice Torkornoo, said the perception that judges can be influenced by money is alien to the legal profession and should not be tolerated by the public.
For her, some individuals have created a market where they milk unsuspecting people whose cases are before courts that when monies are given to judges, it will help to influence the cause of justice in their favour.
Giving an analogy to support her conviction that judges do not take money to determine cases, Justice Torkornoo said nine out of 10 people who take money under the guise of taking it to a judge to influence judgement end up pocking them.
“Don’t give money to people to be taken to judges,” she said, explaining that the reason people lose cases in courts are that their lawyers sometimes do not follow right procedures to argue their cases out.
“There is a whole market; we call it judicial predators. It’s a whole predatory group around our function and that is something that we constantly try to address in our study of ethics both for judges and staff,” she noted.
Justice Torkornoo expressed the worry that unfortunately some people have bought into the idea that when monies are paid to judges, they will rule in their favour.
“It is unfortunate that, that perception has prevailed… Our work is extremely technical, sometimes people lose cases because they didn’t abide with rules of courts; they didn’t abide the rules of evidence; they didn’t abide with substantive law precepts… and so they lose the case, and they don’t understand. The law is difficult that is why law school is difficult and so when people lose cases, they tend to wonder why they lost and then they come up with all sorts of notions,” she explained.
Justice Torkornoo has, therefore, promised to engage the public to deepen understanding on how the law works so that they will understand how cases are determined.