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Friday, March 24, 2023

Judge advocates special courts for armed robbery cases


ken_attafuah_06.jpgA Supreme Court Judge has advocated a special court at the circuit
level, to try cases of armed robbery, narcotics and armed conflicts.

a new book – Fighting Armed Robbery in Ghana- at the British Council
Hall in Accra, Mr. Justice Stephen Allan Brobbey said such a court
would help to decongest the normal courts and send a strong signal to
robbers that the State was determined to deal ruthlessly with the

He said it was possible to attract international
funding to set up the special court along the lines of he commercial
court, reminding his audience that in he 1970s, a special court was set
up by the National Redemption Council, the military regime headed by
then Col. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, to try armed robbers and those
dealing in narcotic drugs.

"It is possible to try cases of
armed robbery, narcotics and armed conflicts at the circuit level," Mr.
Justice Brobbey, who performed the launching on behalf of the Chief
Justice suggested.

"We are losing the fight against armed
robbery," he warned and invited "all those in the justice system to
come together to find a solution to this social menace."

He said not enough was being done to fight armed robbery. "It is a vicious circle of arrest, release, more robbers," he said.

Justice Brobbey told the audience that lynching and other forms of
instant justice had become the means by which the ordinary members of
society were seeking justice. “They think the law is not helping them.
They should help themselves.”

The book was authored by Prof.
Ken A. Attafuah, former Executive Secretary of the National
Reconciliation Commission, and described by reviewers as a lawyer,
criminologist and human rights activist.

“Robbery or armed
robbery as it is commonly known,” he wrote in the opening paragraph of
the book, "is a source of fear and anguish among the populace. No One
is spared the horrifying brutality of this crime, or the dread it
spreads … Robbery is a crime of violence. It is the taking of another
person’s property by force or with the threat of violence. Owing to its
heinous nature and traumatic effects on victims, robbery is one of the
most dreaded crimes known to mankind."

Prof. Attafuah said
armed robbery is mainly a youngman’s game. Perpetrators are aged
between 17 and 35 and the abundance of uncompleted buildings, large
open gutters and poor illumination of cities and towns provide a safe
haven for them.

“The large number of unemployable unemployed
youths,” he said, ensured that there was a constant production line for
new recruits.

He said poor urban dwellings and the failure of
"our collective responsibility" was generating criminology at an
alarming rate and warned that the police are ill-equipped to deal with
the menace.

Ms. Anna Bossman, acting Commissioner on Human
Rights and Administrative Justice, who introduced the Special Guest
said dealing with armed robbers posed a serious challenge to all

She told the audience that while armed robbery is
heinous, it is against the law to resort to lynching and other forms of
instant justice to seek redress.

The book has already received
several glowing reviews. Mr. Kofi Bucknor, Director of Ghana
Television, said fighting armed robbery in Ghana "prescribes critical
policy measures and behaviour to guard against the traumatic experience
of being robbed. This is truly comforting and assuring, after the
harrowing realisation of how truly vulnerable we all are".

Inspector General of Police Kwaku Pepra Kyei, now member of the Council
of State, said "The general public should read this highly educative
book in order to know how to better support the police and protect
themselves and society as a whole from the menace of armed robbery."

Source: The Times

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