In Our Last Edition of Friday October 31st 2008, we stated that Dr. Ade Renner Thomas would be tendering his Letter of Resignation as Chief Justice of the Republic. We have since been corrected and have now learnt that the truth is that the now retired Chief Justice gracefully acquiesced to retire after four years of diligent service to the Nation; a period of service during which some of the laudable reforms currently being continued in the Judiciary, were initiated. The Full Text of the Statement delivered at State House by Dr. Renner Thomas before he started his retirement on Friday 31st October 2008, is reproduced on this page for our cherished readers.
STATEMENT DELIVERED BY THE HON DR ADE RENNER-THOMAS AT STATE HOUSE LAST FRIDAY ON THE OCCASION OF HIS TAKING LEAVE OF HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA BEFORE HIS RETIREMENT FROM OFFICE AS CHIEF JUSTICE
Your Excellency I wish to express my profound gratitude to you sir, first, for giving me the opportunity to take leave of you on the occasion of my retirement from office as Chief Justice, a position I have held for almost four years. Secondly, I wish to commend you for your understanding in giving your concurrence for me to proceed on retirement before the compulsory statutory age of 65 years.
Your Excellency is very familiar with the circumstances surrounding my decision to proceed on early retirement and I shall not dwell on them.
I wish to avail myself of this opportunity to say that it was with great humility that I accepted the invitation of the last Government to serve as Chief Justice. I recall with gratitude that Your Excellency did give your seal of approval to this preferment as a member of the parliamentary committee on appointments that sanctioned my nomination. I must add that it has been a great honour and privilege for me to serve our nation in this high office.
On appointment, the challenge facing me was not only to rebuild, reform and modernize the judiciary but to seek to restore public confidence in the judiciary which confidence had been severely eroded and to strengthen the rule of law and access to justice in our beloved country the absence of which had given rise to the atrocities of the civil war.
In accepting the challenge I was conscious of the enormity of the task to be undertaken and was fully aware that the process of change is not always easy to initiate – the reformer inevitably meeting with opposition from those forces who are resistant to change for one reason or the other.
It is not for me to assess to what extent I have succeeded in taking the process of change forward. All I can say in all modesty is that a foundation has been laid. I am sure that the future of the judiciary is bound to be bright under Your Excellency’s administration. I derive this assurance not only from your Excellency’s several pronouncements since you assumed office to support the judiciary and uphold its independence but also from the practical manifestation of this commitment that led you after only a few months in office to set up a Task Force under the chairmanship of your able and honorable vice president to examine the reasons for the delay in the administration of justice and other related matters. I had the privilege of serving as a member of that Task Force whose recommendations I am pleased to note have been accepted by Government and are in the process of being implemented.
One of the off shoots of that Task Force recommendation is the new legislation on drug offences and the revised anti-corruption statute. A number of the other recommendations of the task force, when implemented, will help in no small measure to bring the judiciary nearer to the attainment of its declared objectives contained in its newly developed mission statement which is to build a modernized, well-resourced, efficient and independent judiciary based on the core values of integrity, probity and accountability.
I hope and trust that with the continued support of Your Excellency’s Government and the assistance of our development partners particularly the British Government under the ongoing Justice Sector Development Programme and the United Nations Peace Building Commission and the United Nations Development Programme, my successor will build on the modest foundation I have laid for the attainment of the objectives I have outlined earlier.
Once more, I thank your Excellency for your attention.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.