Be abreast of digital tools to facilitate justice delivery - Chief Justice urges judges
The Chief Justice, Gertrude Esaaba Torkornoo, has urged judges to be abreast of digital tools and knowledge to facilitate adjudication of cybercrime cases.
Internet services, she said, were relevant to justice delivery and also helped in enhancing productivity and the development of the country.
The Chief Justice, however, said its emergence had also provided a platform for miscreants to pursue criminal activities that bordered on safety and security.
To deal with emerging cybercrime cases, therefore, she said it was important for judges to build their capacity and skills about the Internet and its governance system.
The Chief Justice was speaking at the opening of a three-day introductory training on cybercrime and electronic evidence for the judiciary in Accra yesterday.
It was organised by the National Cybersecurity Authority (CSA), in collaboration with the European Union (EU) under its framework of Organised Crime West Africa Response on
Cybersecurity and Fight Against Cybercrime.
It is aimed at equipping judges and prosecutors with the understanding of cybercrime laws and electronic evidence to strengthen the judicial system in its ability to investigate and prosecute cybercrime cases.
The Chief Justice urged the judges to take advantage of such training programmes to develop their understanding of the laws governing technology usage.
“I urge you to pay particular attention to evaluation and reasoning to matters pertaining to the digital space.
“Be abreast with digital tools and develop new working skills and understanding of virtual issues,” she added.
The Chief Justice further called for the training of other criminal justice actors such as the Narcotics Control Board and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), among others, to enable them to play their respective roles effectively.
Director-General of the CSA, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, said technological advancement and increased use of cyberspace had also brought some inherent challenges to the administration of justice, especially in the use of electronic and forensic evidence and other complex technological issues involved in trial processes.
Citing the Global Risks Report 2023 of the World Economic Forum, he said, it had projected that cybercrime would rank eighth on the Global Risk Index for the next 10 years.
Also, he said, Cybersecurity Ventures, a cybercrime research organisation, had also predicted that cybercrime would cost the world $8 trillion in 2023, and a further $10.5 trillion by 2025.
"Our country is not insulated from these threats. Current data gathered from the National Computer Emergency Response Team at the CSA has identified online fraud as a major threat in the national digital space," Dr Antwi-Boasiako added.
The leading threats in the country included online blackmail, unauthorised access, cyberbullying and the publication of non-consensual intimate images.
He also said that the Bank of Ghana had indicated that the total loss value from cyber fraud increased from GH¢2.6 million in 2021 to GH¢4.3 million in 2022.
Dr Antwi-Boasiako further said that because cybercrime was borderless, effective prosecution of such crimes was hampered by territorial jurisdiction and the evolution of information technology such as cloud computing, which created “loss of location” problems for collecting electronic evidence for prosecution.
The Head of Cooperation of EU Delegation to Ghana, Massimo Mina, commended the country for efforts it was making in the fight against cybercrime.
The EU, he said, was supporting the CSA and law enforcement agencies which had been at the forefront of the fight against cybercrime to increase awareness and strengthen capacities.
Mr Mina expressed the hope that the training would help the participants to delve into various aspects of cybercrime, including techniques employed by cyber criminals and the challenges faced in collecting and presenting electronic evidence in courts.