Meet Geoffrey Henry Cecil Bing, Ghana’s 1st Attorney General

When Nkrumah was ousted in 1966, Bing was arrested and ill-treated, before being sent home some months later. In the course of his arrest, Bing said he was beaten badly in the courtyard of the Central Police Station.

Geoffrey Henry Cecil Bing was a British barrister and politician who served as the Labour Member of Parliament for Hornchurch from 1945 to 1955. He was the first Attorney General of Independent Ghana from 1957 to 1961

Geoffrey Henry Cecil Bing was born on July 24, 1909, at Craigavad near 
Belfast in Northern Ireland. He was educated at Rockport School (of which his father was the founding headmaster) and Tonbridge School before going on to Lincoln College, Oxford, where he read history.

He graduated with a second-class degree in 1931, before attending Princeton University, where he was a  Jane Eliza Procter Visiting Fellow between 1932 and 1933. He was called to the Bar from the Inner Temple in 1934.

Meet Geoffrey Henry Cecil Bing, Ghana's 1st Attorney General

During the Spanish Civil War, Bing joined the International Brigades as a journalist, barely avoiding capture at Bilbao in Northern Spain. He was also an early anti-Nazi.
During World War II, Bing served in the Royal Signals, attaining the rank of major. A 1943 experiment with parachutes at the GSO2 Airborne Forces Development Centre left him disfigured and he bore the scars for many years.

Geoffrey Bing was also a lawyer, building up a practice in West Africa. He became close to  Kwame Nkrumah and was appointed Ghana’s first Attorney General, a post he held from 1957 until 1961. When Nkrumah was ousted in 1966, Bing was arrested and ill-treated, before being sent home some months later.  In the course of his arrest, Bing said he was beaten badly in the courtyard of the Central Police Station.

Regarding his own prison experience in Ghana, Geoffrey Bing wrote, “Prison life under any conditions, as is no doubt one of its objects, forces one to review, without illusion, one’s previous career and to examine with concern the mistakes one had made to bring oneself there” (Bing, 1968: 372).

His memoir “Reap the Whirlwind: An Account Of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana from 1950 to 1966” was published in 1968.

In the book, Geoffrey Bing asserted that his appointment as Ghana’s first Attorney-General was based on his requisite Honours Degree in History and his seniority in a call to the English Bar and his earlier appointment as the Queen’s Counsel in England.

By this, Bing sought to say that his appointment as Ghana’s Attorney General was on merit and that his closeness to Nkrumah was immaterial in this regard. Bing competed for the Attorney-General position with a Judge in the British Colonial Office at the time.

Even though Bing was the Attorney-General in the Nkrumah Administration, he claimed he opposed the enactment of the Preventive Detention Act of 1958 (No. 17).

Meet Geoffrey Henry Cecil Bing, Ghana's 1st Attorney General
Geoffrey Henry Cecil Bing

He said, “My argument against the Act (PDA) for which I had some support in the Cabinet had no effect on the majority of its members or on Dr Nkrumah who supported the idea from the start” (Bing, 1968).

According to Geoffrey Bing, the then Minister of Information, Kofi Baako also opposed to the introduction of the PDA. However, the majority of Cabinet Members including Nkrumah himself supported the PDA Bill.
According to Bing (1968), the thinking in 1958 when the PDA Bill was being passed was that,

“If the Act was used at all, it would not be used against politicians in general and certainly not against Members of Parliament” (Bing, 1968)

In 1940, Geoffrey Bing married, as her second husband, Christian Frances Blois, former wife of radio producer Edward Archibald Fraser Harding and daughter of Sir Ralph Barrett Macnaghten Blois, 9th Baronet. They had two sons,  Inigo Bing and Richard Bing before divorcing in 1955.
In 1956, he married, secondly, Eileen Mary Cullen. They adopted a son, Patrick Adotey Bing.

Geoffrey Henry Cecil Bing passed on on April 24, 1977, at the age of 68

References

🔅 Lunney, Linde. “Bing, Geoffrey Henry Cecil”. Dictionary of Irish Biography. Cambridge University Press.

🔅Newmann, Kate. “Geoffrey Henry Cecil Bing”. Dictionary of Ulster Biography. Ulster History Circle.

🔅”Obituary: Geoffrey Bing – Former Attorney-General of Ghana”. The Times. 25 April 1977. p. 18.

🔅Craig, F.W.S., ed. (1969). British parliamentary election results from 1918-1949. Glasgow: Political Reference Publications. p. 353. ISBN 0-900178-01-9.

🔅Bing, Geoffrey (1960). Reap The Whirlwind An Account of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana.

🔅https://www.modernghana.com/amp/news/1088935/geoffrey-bing-ghanas-former-attorney-general.html

🔅https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Bing

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