Contempt of court not intended to gag anybody – Sophia Akuffo

Justice Sophia Akuffo was originally scheduled to be vetted on Monday, June 19[/caption] Nominated Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo has assured Ghanaians that the summoning of individuals and institutions, in some cases, for contempt cases is strictly to protect the “sanctity and integrity of the judicial process”. She explained that it is not even against the individuals who are offended. “It is to protect the [judicial] institution,” she emphasized. The Supreme Court judge made this known on Friday, when she appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament to be vetted for the position of Chief Justice. She was nominated by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to succeed Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, who retired on Thursday, June 8. Asked to comment on the decision of the apex court in the notorious Montie 3 case, Justice Akuffo, who was appointed to the Supreme Court on November 30, 1995 by then president Jerry John Rawlings, said a nation without a good justice system could easily break down. As a result, measures to control citizens in their opinions about the judiciary, she insinuated, are to ensure the sanctity of the state. “Contempt of court is not to gag anybody,” she said. “Its focus is on the protection of the sanctity and integrity of the judicial process,” she added, explaining that “not even [to protect] the individuals who were offended”. She craved the indulgence of the legislators vetting her to state: “It is when the justice system breaks down, that is when the country breaks down”.

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By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana ]]>