Judicial Press Corps petitions Chief Justice


The Judicial Press Corps has petitioned the Chief Justice on the conduct of the Magistrate of District Court 8, Her Worship Miss Efua Sackey towards members of the Judicial Press Corps.


The petition signed by the Dean and Vice Dean of the Corps explains that on the 19th of June 2018, at about 9am, and as is the custom of the Judicial Press Corps, some members reported at the District Court 8 where Her Worship, Miss Efua Sackey sits to take notes for the case titled ‘The Republic versus Dominic Obeng Andoh and one other’.

The petition indicated that shortly after the arrival of some of the journalists, the case was called and Miss Efua Sackey, in a move that shocked them, ordered her Court Warrant Officer (CWO) to seize the mobile phones of all journalists present in the court room.

According to the petition, the Magistrate explained that the order for seizure of phones of the journalists was to prevent them from recording court proceedings for the day.

It was furthermore stated that all members of the Judicial Press Corps present in court should surrender their phones to the CWO and for nearly an hour, the phones were detained in the custody of the said CWO who submitted same to the Magistrate at the bench.

The petition further stated that at the last adjourned date (12th of June 2018), Miss Efua Sackey had occasion to instruct that all Judicial Press Corps who intend to report from her court must report to and seek clearance from the registrar of the court before they would be allowed access to the court.

 Although the directive was found to be a departure from the norm, the press obliged her and did as she directed before attending her court for the 19th of June 2018 hearing.

The Press Corps finds the decision and subsequent order of Miss Sackey to have their phones seized in court an affront to press freedom and an unfair decision.

According to the petitioners, they have had series of training sessions organized by the Judicial Service where judges such as Justice Eric Kyei Baffour and Justice Dennis Adjei have lectured on the do’s and don’ts of court reporting.

The petitioners assured Her Ladyship, the Chief Justice and all other members of the bench that they will not under any circumstance go contrary to the limits imposed on them by law and conventions as court correspondents.

It was further indicated that at no point did any of the journalist before the seizure was ordered contravene the laid down rules.

The Judicial Press Corps prayed the Chief Justice to use her good office to assure Miss Efua Sackey that the Press Corps have no intentions of recording proceedings in her court and/or misreporting proceedings and cannot continue to be intimidated in such a manner especially when they are simply carrying out a lawful duty.

Source: GhanaJustice/F.Kyeremateng