Judge Runs Away From Courtroom

Drama unfolded at the Dzodze Magistrate Court in the Ketu North district last Monday, when a mob carrying dangerous weapons stormed the court building, forcing the magistrate and others in the court room to flee for their dear lives. The mob, which was shouting “where is the Registrar, we are looking for you,” and “we know you are hiding in one of these offices,” then forced one of the doors of the offices open and found the Court Registrar, Mr. Dan Sapitey, in it. The angry youth then carried Mr. Sapitey on their shoulders, and subjected him to severe beatings. The conduct of the youth attracted many people to the scene, some of whom instead of sympathising with the Registrar, hailed the youth for their actions, as they openly shouted “today you have seen where your activities have landed you. Yes, you need to change for the better.” Speaking to the media, the Spokesperson for the Group, Mr. Michael Kofi Sekpeh, explained that the people of Dzodze cherished peace, but the activities of the Registrar was gradually tarnishing the image of the town, as the Court Registrar had engaged in a number of activities contrary to the customs and traditional practices of the people. Mr. Sekpeh also accused the Registrar of sleeping with married women who sent their marital cases to the court for adjudication. This conduct, he noted, violated the customs of the people. He said apart from this, the Court Registrar had assumed the responsibility of a judge, trying cases in his office, and taking money from the parties involved in the case. The Registrar was also accused of destroying vital documents of the court, after collecting various sums of money from the parties involved, so that their cases would not be heard. Mr. Sekpeh, who was very emotional, said what necessitated their action, was that a female judge died somewhere last year through a motor accident, and it was rumoured in the entire Dzodze township that the Registrar was allegedly behind the death, since he had reportedly warned that any judge who tried to stand in his way, would “go the same way the previous judge left.” Mr. Sekpeh therefore appealed to the Judicial Service to transfer the Registrar within three days, starting from Tuesday, and that if the service failed to do that, the safety of the Registrar could not be guaranteed. However, when the Registrar, Mr. Sapitey, was contacted, he would not talk, but shout at the reporters “what is your problem, I said, I cannot speak to anyone of you,” in the presence of hospital authorities at Dzodze, when the reporters told him about the allegations leveled against him, and the need for him to react to them. A Chief of Dzodze, Togbui Adzofia IV, who came to the scene after a middle-aged man in a private car whisked the Registrar away to the St. Anthony Hospital, which is near the court, said the youth should have reported their grievances to the chiefs to invite the Registrar, and assured them that the chiefs would investigate the conduct of the Registrar and the allegations leveled against him, and make recommendations to the Judicial Service. The Magistrate Court Judge, Her Lordship Mrs. Lydia Aklamanu, who was surprised with the drama, said she did not know anything about the allegations leveled against the Registrar, because she was relatively new in the town.