General News of Monday, 26 November 2018
Nine murder suspects who have been held at the Ho Central Prisons after making a combined 302 appearances in court without trial have been granted bail under the Justice for All Programme.
The five comprised Kwame Gbeve, who made 80 appearances, Dotse Abegeveda, 94 appearances, Gideon Abotsi, 89 appearances, Abraham Amevornyeke, 17 appearances and Lawson Zaforyi and Awudi Kwao who appeared 11 times each.
Justice Clemence Ankrah Honyenugah, a Court of Appeal judge and chairman of the national review remand taskforce, who led the Justice for All Programme, bemoaned the rate at which accused persons were kept in custody beyond the statutory period.
The rest are SeiduTahiru, Mawuko Agbenyegah – five appearances in five years, 66-year-old Etse Kwami, four appearances in five years and Mawuko Agbenye, John Affizie and Hunua Kweku, five appearances each.
32 cases considered
In all, a total of 32 applications were brought up for consideration and after the sitting, 17 remand prisoners were granted bail, nine were refused bail, three cases each were struck out and referred for psychiatric treatment and two persons were discharged.
The 32 remand prisoners were out of a total of 91 who are currently in the Ho Central Prisons.
The inmates, appearing before the court, have been in remand custody for periods ranging from six days to eight years and the offences committed by them were murder, rape, stealing, causing unlawful damage, conspiracy to commit crime, to wit, possessing narcotic drug without authority, conspiracy to commit crime, to wit, defilement and being in possession of arms and ammunition without lawful excuse, among others.
President urged to grant presidential pardon
Justice Honyenugah, a Court of Appeal bemoaned the rate at which murder cases had contributed to the congestion of the prisons.
He appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to exercise his prerogative power of mercy and grant pardon to those who deserve it, as a means of decongesting the prisons.
“Among the lot, murder cases topped the list and it looks like it is becoming a norm in every region we visited and I think that something must be done about it and everybody must be on the lookout because murder as we know has contributed so much to the remand population and once a person is charged with murder, the person cannot be easily granted bail by the court.
“It takes a lot of time for a murder case to be investigated; therefore it contributed to the increase number of remand inmates at the prisons. It is partly the cause of the congestion in the prisons.”
About Justice for All Programme
The Justice For All Programme is an initiative of the Judicial Service of Ghana aimed at alleviating prison overcrowding through setting up of special courts to adjudicate remand prisoner cases in prisons throughout the country.
POS Foundation, a non-profit organisation, plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the cases of remand prisoners are properly aggregated for hearing by the Justice For All Court.