Way back at the Basic School, I read about the arms of government. Again, at the Senior High School, we read more about them – The Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. Each of these arms of government play their separate roles but again act as a check on each other.

Fast forward, on Tuesday March 26, 2024, I had my first experience at the judiciary and I am here to share my first day in Court with you.

The Judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice, and the current Chief Justice is Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo.

Going to the court to learn and observe what happens there has always been one of the moments I have been wishing to have.

And, I had that wish fulfilled when I had the opportunity to intern at GHOne TV newsroom, a member of the EIB Network.

On that Tuesday, I had the opportunity to be attached to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent Murtala Inusah for Court duties and the experience was fulfilling and amazing.

This was an eventful day for me to learn and explore the world of the judiciary.

My initial thoughts were that, I was going to see a courtroom filled with clashes between the lawyers and parties. And that the judge would just pass his or her judgment after hearing from both parties without noting down the judgment.

But, I was wrong. it wasn’t as I had thought.

I was surprised to see some of the lawyers at opposing end of business cracking jokes despite engaging in fierce arguments.

The judges who act as the referees were also calm throughout the proceedings. But, direct affairs and conduct their courtrooms with great admiration.

I was privileged to sit in four different court sessions which include the criminal proceedings of Chief Executive Officer of defunct Menzgold Ghana Limited, Nana APPIAH Mensah popularly known as NAM1.

The discipline in the Courtroom is unmatched. Despite a silent atmosphere, sessions were
Interspersed with occasional jokes and laughter. This act as a sigh of relief for tense moments.

There were countless instances where the lawyer for NAM1 would ask the Prosecution witness (who was in the witness box whose name I later got to know as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Charles Nyarkoh (8th Prosecution Witness) on the NAM 1 case questioned.

I learnt from my Senior Murtala Inusah, that he was going through what is called “Cross-Examination” (and the purpose of the questions from lawyer of NAM1 was to test the credibility of his earlier testimony to the Court termed as “Evidence-in-Chief.”

The witness sometimes when answering questions would deviate from the answers per my views. And in some of the questions, it would take about 10 minutes for him to answer either making references to documents.

But, I later understood also that, even though I see some of his answers as deviation, in the view of the Court, it is not.

At one point, I heard the witness tell the judge that when the lawyer asked him a question, the lawyer should be calm with him so he can come out with an answer..

In his view, lawyer for Defence was intimidating him.

Lest I forget, I learnt that the term Counsel is the same as lawyer.

I got to learn also that in the court, there are recorders (typist) who document every arguments made by the parties and the decisions of the Court.

I also observed that, there are monitors in front of lawyers of both sets, the judges and recorders and everything typed are seen by all parties in the Court.

As confused as I was sometimes in the courtroom, I appreciated the work of EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah from the Court.

He exudes a calm personality and intelligence with his understanding of court proceedings, humble and helpful. In fact, he is one of the inspiring personalities I have come across on my way to explore the media industry.

The main reason I enjoyed the Court sessions on my first day was because, Murtala Inusah did not limit me to just sitting in the courtroom because I am an intern.

Murtala Inusah gave me the opportunity and exposed me to other correspondents from other media houses who I interacted with.

He also exposed me to the court environments by introducing me to lawyers and officers he knows around the corridors of the Court.

Murtala Inusah, also took time to prep me and gave me a vivid understanding of the structure of the judiciary – from the Juvenile/District Court, the Circuit Courts (being the Lower Courts) and the High Courts, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court (Superior Courts).

Murtala also schooled me on how these judges are addressed in each of the Courts mentioned above. For example, l learnt that at the District Court the judges are called Magistrates and their titled is His/Her Worship. At the Circuit Courts His/Her Honour and Justices for the Superior Courts.

At a point in time, I thought Court was going to be boring because I was just going to sit and watch the people in the courtroom do their proceedings.

But again, Murtala Inusah asked me to take note, which is a way of learning how to write legal reports and gave me answers to all the questions I asked regardless of how many I had to ask him.

Based on my experience, I observed that, the courtroom is not for “shallow minded“ persons but for the learned.

I now understand why I hear lawyers refer to each other as My learned colleague or my learned senior. The Court is a place no one would take for granted.

When an individuals or lawyers are speaking to the judges, the precede their submission with – ‘My Lord.’

And this reminded me of the physical features I saw at the Courtroom- the Coat of Arms and the Ghana Flag at where the judges sit.

That I learnt is a symbol of the authority the judges have from the State to dispense justice.

In the courtroom, provisions in the 1992 Constitution and other law books are quoted when lawyers are making their arguments to support their submissions.

In the courtroom I heard some terms like; A1,A2,A3 etc. which I had no idea what they actually meant.

But, Murtala Inusah cleared the confusion in my mind when he explained them to me.

Now, I know that, when I hear “A1” in Court it means 1st Accused Person.

I also saw in the Courtrooms Bibles, Qur’ans and Crosses, which are all meant for specific purposes.

Murtala is a man I would love to learn from and work with because he is a man who is willing to shape any individual who avails him/herself to learn from him.

I enjoyed every minute I spent at the Law Court Complex (High Court) as it was the most impactful experience of my life as an intern at GHOne TV.

So far, this is my experience at the court and with the EIB Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah.

NB: The writer is a communication student of GH Media School, interning at GHOne TV newsroom.