Examine High Court judges in order to test suitability

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By Mamsait Ceesay

A corrupt or incompetent judge is a danger to the public interest and judicial administration in the country.

Judges should exhibit that they are honest and that they possess integrity and sound knowledge of the law in the discharge of their duties.

The situation where judges proffered judgment on the basis of decisions from the lower courts and cite them as law is unacceptable, and even less so when judges cite no authority at all for their rulings and give orders without reasons.

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Judges must be learned, know their case law and ensure that their decisions and judgments are properly motivated.

The dispensation of justice requires that the application of the laws of the land must occur in the hallowed words of the judicial oath they have taken, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; that is, without recourse to the political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any person before them.

When a citizen, whether high or low, fell foul of the law, that person must be dealt with in accordance to the law, and that law enforcement agencies, including the three newly sworn-in women judges, must ensure that they remain true to their oaths and discharge their duties with diligence to defend the true meaning of the concept of equality before the law.

The three new Justices Sainabou Wadda–Cisse elevated from the High Court to the Gambia Court of Appeal, Justice Veronic Wright to the Appeal Court and Justice Isatou Jallow-Sey promoted from Judicial Secretary to the High Court were selected on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, given in accordance with provisions in section 139 of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia.

Although all these three women judges have more than ten years post qualification, it takes far more than paper qualification to be a judge because a judge needs “wisdom and wisdom comes with time”.