“Death penalty has caused me many sleepless nights” – Justice Lovelace-Johnson


Justice Avril Lovelace-Johnson, who is among the nominees for the Supreme Court bench has said the death penalty in Ghana’s criminal justice has caused her many sleepless nights.

According to her, the judiciary is made up of human beings who can make easily make mistakes hence the need to take a second look at it.

“Death is the end of everything, what if we make a mistake and the person is already dead,” she quizzed.

In response to a question on her view of the death penalty by the Appointment Committee of Parliament on Monday, Justice Johnson insists the judges are humans and can make mistakes.

She recounted an incident in 2002 where she had to sentence someone to death.

“Those cases we did it through a whole ceremony. They put a black cloth on your head, the court clerk will sit and make some pronouncements about you being hanged by the neck until you die, and that your body will be buried at a place at the pleasure of the President, I was shaking like a leaf when I imposed the sentence. I didn’t sleep for about a month, ” she said amidst piercing stares from the committee members.

According to her, that is where the death penalty might infringe a right of a person or so, the possibility that judges can make a mistake.

And for that reason alone, I’m anti the death penalty, she said.

Justice Avril Lovelace Johnson, has been nominated with two other Justices; Mariama Owusu and Gertrude Torkornoo by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the Supreme Court.

The nominated Justices upon approval will take over from Chief Justice, Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo, who retires on December 20, 2019, and Justices Vida Akoto-Bamfo and Sophia Adinyira, who have both retired.

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