• Justice Gertrude Esaaba  Sackey Torkornoo
• Justice Gertrude Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo

Graphic prediction comes true. . .President nominates Justice Torkornoo as next Chief Justice

As predicted earlier by the Daily Graphic, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has nominated a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Gertrude Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo, as the next Chief Justice.

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The Daily Graphic in its April 18, 2023 issue, published that the President was expected to nominate Justice Torkornoo as the Chief Justice to replace Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, who retires on May 24, this year.

Last Wednesday, April 25, President Akufo-Addo, in a letter he signed, informed the Council of State about his decision to nominate Justice Torkornoo, and impressed on the Council to expedite action on the nominee, for onward submission to Parliament for approval, in conformity with Article 144 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.

When she gets the nod from Parliament, 60-year-old Justice Torkornoo will become the country’s third female Chief Justice, following the footsteps of Justices Georgina Theodora Wood and Sophia Akuffo.

Rich experience  

Three lawyers have welcomed the nomination of Justice Torkornoo, describing it as one that would improve the administration of justice in the country.

The lawyers who spoke to the Daily Graphic are a former Attorney–General and Minister of Justice, Ayikoi Otoo;  Senior Partner of Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa & Ankomah, Ace Ankomah, and private legal practitioner and lecturer at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) Law School, Albert Quashigah.

Mr Otoo said Justice Torkornoo’s  rich experience as a judge for over 19 years and also from her many years as a lawyer would be a great asset to her role as Chief Justice.

“She was a lawyer worth her salt and has also distinguished herself on the Bench. So she is a good choice by the President,” he said

In terms of human relations, he said although Justice Torkornoo was firm, she was a courteous judge who treated lawyers that appeared before her with respect.

Mr Otoo said when approved by Parliament, Justice Torkornoo must work hard to protect the independence and sanctity of the judiciary.

“She must swiftly investigate all allegations of judicial corruption and send a message to judges and officers of the judiciary that corruption is not rewarding and would not be tolerated under her administration,” he said.

Great knowledge

Mr Ankomah described Justice Torkornoo as a firm believer in the rule of law and a judge who continuously exhibits high knowledge in various fields of the law.

“She is firm in her conviction and always ready to use the law to advance the cause of justice,” he said.

Mr Ankomah expects Justice Torkornoo to further drive digitisation of the courts and the Judicial Service to improve the justice delivery system.

According to him, although digitisation of the courts was being implemented by the current Chief Justice, Justice Torkornoo must further accelerate the implementation of initiatives such as automations of courts and e-justice.

“In these days of digitisation, the court can expand electronic filing.

If there is a 300-page document, a lawyer does not have to print all to file.

It can be filed electronically,’ he said.

Progressive judge

For Mr Quashigah, Justice Torkornoo is a progressive judge who will be open to implement initiatives that will make the justice system more in tune with current times.

Again, he said Justice Torkornoo must work hard to improve the relationship between judges and lawyers.

“Sometimes, the way some judges relate to lawyers in the courtroom is not the best.

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When she becomes the Chief Justice, I expect her to improve on this relationship because lawyers and judges are partners in delivering justice to people,” he added.

Who is Justice Gertrude Torkornoo?

A native of Winneba in the Central Region, Justice Torkornoo was born in Cape Coast on September 11,1962 and had her ‘O’ Level at the Wesley Girls’ High School and ‘A’ Level at the Achimota School.

She is an alumna of the University of Ghana and graduated from the Ghana School of Law in June, 1986.

In 2001, she obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in International Law and Organisation from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), part of Erasmus University in the Netherlands and further graduated from the Golden Gate University, USA  in 2011, with an LLM in Intellectual Property Law.

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From January 1997 to 2004, she was a Managing Partner at Sozo Law Consult.

Justice Torkornoo became a Justice of the High Court from May 2004 to October 2012. She was appointed to the Court of Appeal from October 2012 to 2019, when she was elevated to the Supreme Court.

Justice Torkornoo was part of the seven-member panel of the highest court of the land that unanimously dismissed the 2020 Election Petition filed by former President John Dramani Mahama challenging the 2020 election victory of President Akufo-Addo.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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