Skande!: Lawyers, the bribe, the bench and justice [Part 3]

BribeFor the rest of us the message amplifies the imprimatur to lend support-have a clean judiciary as a civic duty responsibility. But that reaching out would be initiated by the justice system in hands across now a   border.

This is why the judiciary has to take the lead — upfront bearing in mind the individual’s own self-esteem as circumstantially enveloped in the collective honor constitute what are crucially in the heart of the core of this old bump, but must be excised or induced to be fully credulous about a honnete homme bar and bench in this country.

If any more stalling is not and cannot be equated with the ‘justice delayed, justice denied dictum’ I believe the truth and innocence would cease to be debatable any longer. But the arms folding today could rebound the judicial wing and by then [as and when but not now] the machinery would have become woundedly weakened by the years body blows to be like the economy today.

That misnomer “fixing it” will not wash for two reasons: governments do not fix economies they manage it; and for justice, the cynicism would have gone past notoriety.

I think the solution to tackle it is a study not an enquiry of any sort which will be instantly hijacked by politicization press sensations and scuttled. Kufuor’s “National Re-conciliation Commission” was hopelessly lost through that. The major goal is not to catch a thief. It is rather find what is or could be wrong and cause — weaknesses to strengthen and loopholes to seal at cost which a country dearly wishing for an envious justice system for trust is prepared to pay.

Apart from suspect evil that may be read in the noise with some degree of being right, I think that absolute decency is precisely the wish of everyone for a country that is increasingly growing wearied of politics, distrustful of it and disappointingly alienating.

In a funny way news about bribery among the bar and the bench is no news because the country has mused on it in re-cycles for many years since independence in 1966 without getting the hang on it to crack down and control.

Any policy at all has been hostage to that un-known consequentially which is why it is hardly newsworthy professionally.

The public assumptions that are the outgrowths are that it is difficult to take it out of both political, morality of conscience and even academic discourses; because the outcomes would be very negative to pursue.

It is this monumental frustration from history which keeps the matter in our national sub-consciousness and gives the pretence of surreal any time there is a minutiae hint of perversion of or the attempt allegedly in the justice system here.

My deduction with regards to the reference to corruption in the justice dispensation is there are three elements: the purpose of the bribe, the role of politics outstandingly and who pulls the strings behind the curtain.

The trio has a supposed one supreme goal which is to secure a favorable trial verdict in a behalf. [I want a slight digression to insist that I make a definitive distinction between moral-religious Believer’s value judgment separate from and not to confuse it in any way – not even nuanced with the phraseology “in a behalf” as to be compared as sanguine with, for instance, and indeed mainly prayerful intercession].

The accepted without proof beyond all reasonable doubt is that bribery is rife, operates under many guises and apparently succeeds with impunity. That is the crux of the prevailing distrust of the courts.

I bear in mind to stick to a sacred fact that much in the matter is rumour and or alleged. The key need to prove bribery is as hard as tracking it to pigeon-hole giver, recipient, form and purpose.

The cover ups and ambivalences force premature retiring further pursuit just like a judge would have been compelled to dismiss a case for lack of convincing [reasonable beyond all reasonable doubt] evidence in a trial without causing the kind of controversy as, for instance, followed the Oscar Pistorius verdict in South Africa; or, our own memorable acquittal and discharge of the CPP Trio — Ako Adjei, Tawiah Adamafio and Kofi Crabbe in the Kulungugu judgment.

Therefore, in more situations than less, bribery skande [scandal] has become a regular fugitive offender. As integrity-questioning and repugnant as it is, society today views any form of reported corruption with superfluous cynicism. The reason primarily, is everyone believes it would end nowhere. Yet the same society or nation somehow trusts the courts of justice would judge.

The bad and deadly public failure has been the reign of neither understanding nor being educated to appreciate that justice is meted out on the merits of evidence prosecuted before a court of lawful jurisdiction.

So the recent stern warning by a Judge in court that lawyers are subverting trials in their favor through direct suborned and indirect pressures re-opens the file or docket.

The explanation for “re-opens” is that there has been a feeling that tainting the justice system with that can be considered past.

The Judge also threatened to expose the lawyers, according to press coverage reporting, though the learned Lady was ambiguous about names and the news story said she had prior to her protest reprimanded four lawyers for misconduct.

“There is no point to engage in bribery when you have a good case.

If you have given money to anyone to be given to me, please go back and take your money because it is not the practice here…”

Firstly there is no information about what next for the four. Usually it would be expected or notice would have been given that the four were being reported to the Council for the Bar and the Bench and that means investigation for ultimate sanction or exoneration.

Either may be published, more to deter and assure public confidence than humiliate the offender necessarily. Secondly, this:”…it is not the practice here…” Prima facie, the learned Lady was emphasizing the notice at the entrance of the Courts of Justice in Accra:”JUSTICE NOT FOR SALE”, substantiating it in that remarkable rebuke.

On the other hand while she was not taking liberties, anyone’s interpretation reasonably as opposed to the reality would be a presumptive question ‘is corrupting judges something that goes on?’.

A most debilitating notion in the public mind is that it does. What then is the source of this persistent public skepticism?. Both the public notice and the judge show implicit worrying despite the significant expansion of the efforts right to the present.

I am not sure there has been a fulcrum independent research deliberately pigeon-holed on whether the judiciary is corrupt or not corruptible. The inquiries in the past have been internal and on particular complaints.

I guess since their in-camera nature generally has always limited the way in which findings can influence the belief into disbelief; and rather than the latter, the particularity of cases dealt with fed the viral on the strength of the old saying about the lot being infected by the one black sheep.

“ALL of them Kwesi Ansah the same” it goes. It is unfair because it is not right because there is no proof; yet it has kept the tar –corrupt—on the administration of justice here in the loop for the years to date.

The aggravation is that it gains instant and very much resonance to rip apart confidence as soon after a mere inference clawing mud is attached to the judiciary. The enduring damaging ugliness lies in its being generally not spoken out to be corrected, challenged for proof; but rumor-spread as truth — se ye kae [we said it].

This is how the belief builds up credibility [sustainable or not]. The obvious sequel is that neither the history nor the contemporary politics of the belief and doubt have changed.

Its being rife and again sticking hard to be wrestled down with no ease returns the discourse to locating the source which can be equated with cause to enable me use them synonymously.

To explain, one actually deals with source and the other aspect concerns cause. The source is politics and politicization of the judiciary. It is naïve to overlook in pretence not to mention that the political dimension has been important or indeed crucial throughout.

Simply, that would be forgery of a significant DNA in the history that it started after independence with the CPP and Dr.Kwame Nkrumah.   The history of colonial appointments to the Bench in the Gold Coast before it became Ghana also contradicts part of that genesis.

Evidence firmly points to a transition of the colonial formula to partisanship. From there it gathered the systematic partitioning of the THEM and US on the Bench shunting in tandem with the political “ins” and “outs” in this country with incredible success.

The only real occasions I can read between the lines of events back to liken a surge to try to reverse or indeed stop impugning the public trust in the judiciary as a whole and specifically the Chief Justiciary, was the 1968 Bar Association’s belligerency over the Solicitors License fee trial won and lost at appeal. In fact, it seems a close to correct interpretation to think that verdict restored the public diffidence and     mistrust of the political breed in power here.

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