An Appeal Court Judge, Justice C.J. Honyenuga, has indicated that processes are underway for the establishment of a permanent remand court in the Nsawam Prisons.
He said the programme initiated by the Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood in collaboration with the British High Commission is expected to end all issues surrounding remand prisoners in the Greater Accra Region.
According to the 2007 Prisons Service Annual Report, 13,335 prisoners were held up in prison designed to hold approximately one-third of that number.
Out of the number, 31.5 percent of the prisons population was in pre-trial status up from 29.5 percent in 2006, adding that sometimes detainees serve more time in detention awaiting trial than the actual sentence the crime requires.
However, Justice Honyenuga addressing journalists at the Access to Justice on Remand Prisoners IV (ATJRP 4) in Accra yesterday stated that the court when established would be presided over by a permanent judge detailed to hear remand cases.
‘As at now, there are efforts to establish a permanent remand court in Nsawam so that all cases involving remand prisoners and all the others especially around the Greater Accra Region for which the accused persons find themselves would be dealt with a judge permanently appointed to take care of these matters,’ he emphasized.
The Appeal Court Judge further intimated that the programme would also be extended to other regions so that ‘the problem of remand prisoners would be nipped in the bud once and for all.’
Kweku Agyeman Budu, lecturer at the Centre for Law and Development at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), said under the ATJRP 4, about 1000 remand prisoners would be interviewed as potential targets for release.
He said the programme also hopes to facilitate the expeditious trial of the candidates.
Jonathan Osei Owusu, Executive Director of POS Foundation, said the programme does not intend to release criminals into the society.
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By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson
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