President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Tuesday swore in three female Supreme Court justices to replace justices of the court who have gone on retirement.
The new justices — Justice Mariam Owusu, Justice Avril Lovelace-Johnson and Justice Gertrude Araba Baaba Torkornoo — swore the Oath of Allegiance, the Judicial Oath and the Oath of Secrecy, after which they were presented with their instruments of office by the President.
The trio, from the Court of Appeal, went through rigorous nomination and confirmation processes, initiated by the Judicial Council on behalf of the President and undertaken in consultation with the Council of State, with the approval of Parliament.
The retired Supreme Court justices who have been replaced are Justice Vida Akoto Bamfo, who retired on February 7, this year, and Justice Sophia Adinyira, who retired on September 1, this year.
The three newly sworn-in justices signed the Oath Book, after which the President also signed it as a seal.
President Akufo-Addo said the three had met the stringent requirements, had the independence of spirit, proven integrity, high moral character and impartiality of mind.
He said the post-1966 Supreme Court had developed a positive reputation for the quality of its constitutional jurisprudence and expressed the hope that the new justices would help strengthen the development of Ghana’s Constitution.
He noted that, as expressed in Article 129 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court was not bound to take the decision of any other court, including its own, and shall have all the powers and authority in jurisdiction vested in any court established by the Constitution or any other law.
Therefore, with all other courts bound to follow the decisions of the Supreme Court on issues of law, he said, it was critical that the justices possessed sound knowledge of the law and of precedence.
The President urged them to ensure the strict application of the laws without fear or favour, without affection or ill will and, therefore, without recourse to the political, religious and ethnic affiliation of any citizen.
Justice Mariama Owusu
The 65-year-old Justice Owusu, who hails from Beposo in the Ashanti Region, comes to the Supreme Court with 38 years’ experience at the Bench.
She was a District Magistrate from 1990 to 1992, became a Circuit Court judge from 1992 to 2000 and sat on the High Court from 2000 to 2006. She was appointed as the Supervising High Court Judge for Sunyani from 2003 to 2005.
She was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2006, where she had been until her nomination to the Supreme Court in November.
Justice Owusu was the President of the International Association of Women Judges (Ghana Chapter) for four years. She also served as a member of the Ethics Committee of the Judicial Service and also member of the Performing Assets Committee, Judicial Service, from 2010 to 2014.
The 58-year-old Justice Lovelace-Johnson hails from Mankessim in the Central Region.
She had her GCE Ordinary and Advanced levels at the Wesley Girls’ High School, Cape Coast, and the Aburi Girls’ School, respectively.
From June 2002 to December 2012, she was a Justice of the High Court at the Accra and the Tema High courts and became a Justice of the Court of Appeal in October 2012.
From December 2005 to 2009, she was assigned by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London to The Gambia as a Justice of the High Court, where she also acted as an additional Justice of the Court of Appeal.
Justice Lovelace-Johnson started as a District Magistrate before rising to become a Circuit Court judge from June 1994 to June 2002.
She served as an Assistant State Attorney at the Attorney-General’s Department in Accra after her National Service at the A-G’s Department in Koforidua from 1988 to 1989.
She has held several leadership positions, including former Director of the Public Complaints and Courts Inspectorate Unit of the Judicial Service of Ghana, Vice-President of the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana and former Honorary Council Member of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana.
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 completed the Ghana School of Law in June 1986.
She also served as a volunteer at the FIDA Legal Aid Service and did an internship at Nabarro Nathanson in London.
She was also a pupil associate at Fugar & Co., a law firm in Accra, before she returned in 1994 to become its director.
From January 1997 to 2004, she was a Managing Partner at Sozo Law Consult.
She became a Justice at the High Court from May 2004 to October 2012, before she was elevated to the Court of Appeal from October 2012 to date.
Some of the leadership positions she has held are Supervising Judge, Commercial Courts; Chair, Editorial Committee of Association of Magistrates and Judges; the Chief Editor for the development of Judicial Ethics Training Manual; Vice-Chair of the E-Justice Steering/Oversight Committee and Vice-Chair of the Internship and Clerkship Programme for the Judiciary.
She is a Faculty Member, Judicial Training Institute, as well as member of the Governing Board, Judicial Training Institute.
Justice Torkornoo has also written a number of books, plays, academic essays, articles and presentations.