Criminal Justice Justice For All Programme not for releasing criminals onto streets - CJ replies critics

Speaking at the first stakeholders' workshop since the inception of the programme, the Chief Justice said the "Justice for All Courts is courts of competent jurisdiction that follows due process."

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Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood has described as unfortunate the perception that the Justice For All programme is an avenue for releasing suspected criminals onto the streets.

Speaking at the first stakeholders' workshop since the inception of the programme, the Chief Justice said the "Justice for All Courts is courts of competent jurisdiction that follows due process."

She said: “The determinations made by these courts must be respected by all, including investigators who fail to enforce them by their failure to enforce decisions on bail, in particular, granted by these courts.”

READ ALSO: Don’t twist court proceedings – Atuguba tells journalists

“We must bear in mind that the Justice for All Programme is beneficial to the vulnerable and poor, who find themselves in detention, for one reason or the other, and who are unable to afford the legal fees and so for some them they self-represent or remain unrepresented,” the Chief Justice added.

The Justice for all programme is a special in-prison court sitting on remand prisoners, prisoners whose trials are unreasonably delayed.

The maiden sitting of the programme was successfully held at the James Fort Prison, on 27th September 2007.

But with some few years into the programme, the Chief Justice believes the programme needs a complete overhaul to ensure its effectiveness.

“The system is crying for a radical overhaul in terms of the procedural law in particular, and the sanctions to be applied following conviction. One such important statutory intervention would definitely help bring sanity into the criminal justice system and therefore ease the congestion in the prisons.

“I refer to the issue of non-adoption of proceedings in partly-heard criminal cases. I propose the adoption of proceedings in partly heard criminal cases as is the case in civil cases, if not on a wholesale basis for all offences, certainly in relation to a large number of criminal cases which are heard in the lower courts. I have no doubt that trials de novo are clearly disadvantageous to stakeholder participation in the criminal justice delivery system,” the Chief Justice added.

DCOP David Ampah-Bennin Director General of the Police Intelligence and Professional Standard unit speaks about the Amnesty International 2015 annual report

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