On March 19, this year, the Daily Graphic carried a story about a Supervising High Court Judge, Justice Alexander Graham, who vacated his seat over death threats. According to the story, Justice Graham, who was the Circuit Court Judge in Bolgatanga, the capital of Upper East Region, was among 10 new judges who were promoted to the High Court and sworn into office in July 2022. He took charge of the High Court Two, which had been closed for sometime due to the unavailability of a judge.
According to the story, the Judge had been receiving threats in the form of phone calls and text messages continuously, since he started work at the High Court.
It was reported that these threatening calls and messages were made to warn him to be careful about some of the cases pending at the High Court Two, especially cases on mining and chieftaincy, which were pending at the court. Some also threatened to take his life if they did not get a favourable outcome from their cases at the court, the report said.
Justice Graham is reported to have found three people, including a Chief, in contempt for attempting to bribe him. As a result, the threatening messages soon metamorphosed into a physical attack, in the form of shooting and pelting of stones at night at the Judge’s residence. Sensing danger, Justice Graham left the region the next day to Accra for safety.
Although a number of cases had been earmarked for hearing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the clients and lawyers were left disappointed due to Justice Graham’s absence, the report said.
We, at The Chronicle, see this development as very worrisome and expect the police to act swiftly to fish out those who perpetuated such a heinous crime. The Judge is only performing his duty and must not be subjected to such ill treatment by the people of Bolgatanga and surrounding environs.
Many communities up north complain about the absence of professionals to undertake essential services in healthcare, education, security and justice delivery systems.
Reports over the years have pointed to the fact that people refuse postings to these areas because of the lack of social amenities. It is, therefore, a wonder that a Judge, who has left all the comfort in Accra to work in the northern part of Ghana, would be subjected to such ill-treatment.
This, however, raises the question of whether or not the country is really ready to deal with the cancer called corruption. Some school children have to sit on the floor to learn, maybe because someone has siphoned monies meant for the purchase of desks.
Again, agricultural crops get rotten simply because the farmers could not transport the farm products to a selling point, due to bad roads. The neglected roads are the result of corrupt activities of some government officials. Also, justice has eluded innocent people just because they could not pay bribe to get judgment in their favour.
It is, therefore, strange to witness a judge being maltreated because he has refused to be corrupt and has acted on the right side of the law. Those who engaged in the crime should bow down their heads in shame for choosing their parochial interest over what is right.
The Chronicle thinks it is really time for people to conduct some self introspection and answer the question on whether or not they have contributed to this canker or they are a solution to it.