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Pulse Picks: 6 Controversial court rulings that brought Ghana's justice delivery system under scrutiny

Ghana’s democracy is anchored on rule of law and the judicial system and justice delivery play a crucial role in its practice.

Controversial court rulings that brought Ghana's justice delivery system under scrutiny

However, some recent Ghanaian court rulings have triggered reactions among Ghanaians who held the view that the judgements relating to such cases were disproportionate.

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For instance, in February this year, one Kwabena Boateng who had been jailed for 12 months got his freedom back thanks to Crime Check Ghana.

The NGO wrote on Facebook: “Kwabena Boateng has been given a 12-month prison sentence for causing harm to his best friend who used an old 5 pesewas currency, not in use to buy from his shop.”

A fight ensued between them subsequently, and the friend pulled out a knife to hurt him. In an attempt to defend himself, his friend’s palm got a deep cut.

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He was arrested and taken to court where he was slapped with a fine of GH¢2,000.00, and failing to pay landed him in jail. Well, some Ghanaians agreed with the court while others thought the sentence was unjust and outrageous.

Ibrahim Lobbol was found guilty of stealing the slightly used smartphone and sold it for a meagre GHS 80.00.

In this case, the majority of the reactions was against the convict who people thought deserved his punishment.

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Again, in June, a Ghanaian young man’s revelation that he got jailed by a court of competent jurisdiction for stealing cooked rice got many Ghanaians reacting.

The young man told his story to Crime Check Foundation in the presence of prison officers while in his blue prison attire.

“I was hungry and took the rice cooker and the woman made the police arrest me,” he narrated to Crime Check Foundation’s Executive Director Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng.

The foundation facilitated his release from prison eventually, but most Ghanaians were outraged, saying his offence should not have landed him in jail.

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Then, in July, a Duayaw-Nkwanta Circuit Court in the Tano North Municipality of the Ahafo Region has sentenced 3 armed robbers to a total of 135 years imprisonment.

The court found guilty Ibrahim Musah, 23, Tahiru Mumen, 18, and Bella Musah Jalo of robbing market women on their way from the market robbing four victims of their phones and monies after subjecting them to severe beatings at Subrisu, a village near Duayaw Nkwanta.

His Lordship, Edward Twum sentenced each of them to 45 years.

Armed robbery was on the ascendency at that time, so the robbers’ imprisonment was more or less welcomed generally.

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In October, a 24-year-old Ghanaian unemployed man was handed a 14-year jail term handed him by the Tepa Circuit Court for stealing plantain & cassava worth GH¢50.

Justice Ezekiel, pleaded guilty to stealing the food items from a farm at Akwasiase, near Tepa in the Ahafo Ano North District.

The court presided over by Gwendolyn Millicent Owusu in its wisdom then sentenced the young man on his own plea to almost a decade and a half year imprisonment.

The court heard that on September 5th, 2021, the convict had gone to harvest the plantain and the cassava secretly.

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However, luck eluded him while he was loading them into a sack and the owner of the farm caught him red-handed.

Many Ghanaians did not take kindly to Justice Ezekiel’s imprisonment. They argue that it is unfair for politicians to be walking free while poor people like him would languish in jail because of plantain & cassava worth GH¢50.

George Agbeko Agbeshie was sentenced to a 25-year jail term out of which he has served 13 years before he finally got his freedom.

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Saani Mahmoud Abdul-Rasheed of the Legal Aid Commission filed an appeal on Agbeshie’s behalf, leading to his emancipation by a three-member panel presided over by Justice Senyo Dzamefe.

The Court of Appeal said that the evidence on which Agbeshie was jailed was baseless and the prosecution did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was indeed involved in the robbery he was accused of.

“The conviction is hereby quashed. The appeal succeeds and we set aside the conviction and sentence,” the court ruled.

Many Ghanaians expressed fury about how Agbeshie’s life was wasted and advocated for compensation for him by the state.

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In the same November Circuit court at Kwahu south sentenced a 23-year-old Ghanaian barber to 114 years imprisonment for sodomising 12 pupils.

Kwame Amponsah has been sentenced after being found guilty of the crime he perpetrated on the victims who happen to be pupils of a basic school at Jejeti Atewase in the Kwahu West Municipality of the Eastern Region.

This case got a lot of Ghanaians excited with many making fun of the convict, saying he deserved the sentence, which will run concurrently though.

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