Four persons on remand at the Sekondi Central Prisons in the Western Region have been set free under the “Justice For All Programme” (JFAP), an initiative meant to decongest the country’s prisons.
The four inmates were part of the 20 hearing applications received.
One of them was cautioned, discharged and bonded while another one was also discharged and bonded.
The four who were visibly elated broke into tears and thanked the court that was constituted to hear the case and the lawyers who defended them.
One specialized High Court was set up yesterday at the prison to hear the cases of some of the accused persons on remand.
Eleven of the remanded prisoners were granted bail while the remand imposed on four other prisoners were upheld by the court.
Two of the remand prisoners were convicted by the courts. The prisoners were offered free legal representation during the hearing of the cases.
Justice Honyenuga was happy that the ‘Justice for All’ project was yielding positive results.
He noted that the number of remand prisoners at the Sekondi prisons had reduced drastically as compared to that of last year when the programme was taken to Sekondi.
He also indicated that remand population at the country’s prisons had decreased from 30.6 per cent in 2007 to 12 per cent as at December 26, 2017.
He, however, bemoaned the rising number of rape and defilement cases in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis.
This was because about 70 per cent of the cases that were heard at the special constituted High Court at the Sekondi prisons yesterday, were rape and defilement cases.
He, therefore, appealed to the authorities concerned to intensify education on the matter to help reduce the number of the cases and give the metropolis a good image.
Justice Honyenuga debunked the assertion that the project was being used to free hardened criminals onto the streets.
He explained that, the project would help resolve the challenges that arise in efforts to control crime and the upholding of the right of accused persons.
He said, in crime control, it was important that due process was followed to avoid abuse of the rights of the accused person.
The Justice for All Project is being executed under the auspices of the Access to Justice for Remand Prisoners Project.
The Access to Justice Project seeks to alleviate overcrowding at the prisons by setting up special courts to adjudicate on remand prisoners’ cases.
It was in collaboration with the Judicial Service, Attorney General’s Department, Ghana Police Service and Ghana Prisons Service.
Source: Daily Guide