It’s time to review our laws – Justice Akamba

A justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Joseph B. Akamba says it is time to review the nation’s penal codes to improve the approach to crime prevention and prosecutions.

That he said will ensure a better regulation of the conduct of people and make society a better place to live.

Speaking at a lecture on the law of attempt or preparatory crime held at the British Council in Accra on Thursday, Justice Akamba said it is time for a paradigm shift in Ghana’s criminal code which according to him has seen no major changes since independence.

The lecture, entitled “Preparation for crime: some thoughts on a just and effective scheme of liability,” was delivered by Willaim Wilson, a Professor of Criminal Law at Queen Mary, University of London.

It was hosted by the University of London International Programmes and it brought together members of the legal community and the university’s student alumini.

Prof. Wilson in his speech challenged legal professionals to reconsider the approach of the law to preparatory crime, saying it was unfair for one to be punished as though he has committed a crime when in fact the person merely attempted that crime.

For a person to be guilty of a crime, he explained, that person must have taken action towards committing that offence.

He said recent developments in criminal justice in many jurisdictions indicate that control and prevention of crime is replacing retribution as a preferred option for state intervention.

And Justice Akamba agrees. He said the nature of crimes is evolving and highlighted the need for the state to find novel ways of dealing with society’s wrongs.

Under the current criminal code, the justice said, persons who attempt criminal acts are given the same punishment as those who commit the actual crime. The phenomenon he bemoaned is unjust.

He suggested that a broad spectrum of society must be constituted to review Ghana’s laws to meet the needs of the evolving society.