By: KALD | Voltaonlinegh.com |
Some 16 persons who were on remand at the Ho Central Prisons have gained respite after an in-prison special court session under the Justice for All Programme (JFAP) on Friday.
Two courts sat concurrently in the prison yard and heard a total of 27 applications, of which 14 were granted bail and two others discharged unconditionally.
The courts presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Court of Appeal Judge and Supervisor of JFAP, and Justice Eric Baah, Supervising High Court judge for the Volta region, also convicted but bonded two persons.
Eight of the 27 applications were however refused by the special courts, while one was also struck out.
Some of the people who appeared before the ‘Justice for All’ special court, according Prison authorities, have been remand since 2013.
- -The Ho Central Prisons currently house about 500 inmates.
- – 89 of them are persons on remand
- – The initial inmate capacity of the Prison is 150.
Chief Justice Entourage
The Friday’s in-prison special court session was witnessed by the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo and a delegation of development partners, comprising directors of UN Organizations and some female ambassadors/High commissioners in Ghana.
The entourage, includes the South Africa High Commissioner, Lulama Mary-Theresa Xingwana, US ambassador – Stephanie Sullivan and the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Sylvia Lopez.
They were on a mission to assess the impact of the Justice for All Programme, introduced in 2007 by government to decongest the country’s prisons through mobile court hearings of remand cases at the prisons.
In a remark, Chief Justice Akuffo hinted of plans to decentralize the programme to the regions in the coming year. She said, the supervising High court judges in the various regions would be tasked to go into the prisons on quarterly basis to adjudicate remand cases.
The Volta Regional Commander of Prisons, DDP Andrews Dzokoto said the Justice for All Programme was helpful to remand inmates, who have not stepped in the court for years.
According to him, the programme was gradually decongesting the prisons and commended the stakeholders for sustaining it.
About Justice for All Programme
The Justice For All Pragramme started in 2007 was aimed at alleviating prison overcrowding through setting up special courts sittings to adjudicate remand prisoner cases in prisons throughout the country.
It was initiated by the then Attorney-General’s Department/Minister for Justice, Hon. Jeo Ghartey in close collaboration with the Judicial Service of Ghana, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Prisons Service, Lawyers, as well as Civil Society groups.