Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo (left), Chief Justice, interacting with Rev. Washington Komla Darke (right), Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, and Godfred Yeboah Dame (middle), Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo (left), Chief Justice, interacting with Rev. Washington Komla Darke (right), Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, and Godfred Yeboah Dame (middle), Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
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42nd Martyrs Day commemorated

A memorial Service has been held at the Calvary Baptist Church, Shiashie, Accra, in remembrance of the abduction and killing of three Justices of the High Court and a retired Army officer some 42 years ago. 

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The Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo; the President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Yaw Acheampong Boafo; the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, and his deputies; judges and lawyers, including staff of the Judicial Service, Law students and the public joined family members and friends of the deceased at the solemn service to commemorate the day. 

Prayers

The clergymen took turns to pray for the Bar and the bench, as well as families of the victims. Earlier, Justice Torkornoo, Messrs Dame and Boafo, and families of the murdered judges laid wreaths at the busts of the judges at the forecourt of Supreme Court.

The victims of the crime were Justices Frederick Opoku Sarkodie, Cecilia Koranteng-Addow, Kwadwo Agyei Agyapong and Major Sam Acquah (retd). The four were abducted from their respective homes in Accra on June 30, 1982, and murdered at the Bundase Military Range in the Accra Plains.

As a result, June 30 every year has been declared Martyrs Day by the GBA and the Judicial Service when a series of events are organised in memory of the judges. In his sermon based on Isaiah 33:20-22, the immediate past denominational Board Chairman of the Ghana Baptist Convention, Rev. Dr Fred P. Deegbe, urged the lawyers to use the occasion to renew and re-dedicate themselves to the virtues of high ethical standards and integrity.

He also entreated them to address corruption through a multifaceted approach involving legal, ethical and institutional reforms. “We must be seen to be committed to justice over personal and parochial interests,” Rev. Deegbe added. 

Blot

Mr Boafo said the June 30, 1982 event had become a blot on the conscience of the nation and urged the public to draw useful lessons from the incident. “Let's have the capacity to learn from our mistakes as a people. This should serve as a constant reminder that intolerance and political vigilantism should not be tolerated and has no place in our democracy,” he added.

Mr Boafo bemoaned the level of violence that characterised the voter transfer exercise, saying such pockets of violence could have consequences on the country. He condemned the tagging of judges as political appendages, and said as a member of the appointments committee of judges, during the appointment process the political leaning of an applicant was not a requirement at any stage.

Mr Boafo called on the government and management of the judiciary to enhance the security of judges at all levels, as he made reference to a recent shooting of a magistrate in court in Nairobi, Kenya. 

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