Officers of the Ghana Police Service have been advised to desist from criminalizing civil cases.
Don't criminalize civil cases – Police cautioned
An Appeals Court Judge, Justice Dennis Adjei, said the Police must not take advantage of the criminal laws to punish people unjustly.
He made this known when he represented the Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood at the commissioning of a new Circuit Court building at Ashaiman
Justice Adjei noted that the courts were not interested in abusing the rights of innocent people and the Police must not push the court into doing so.
He said officers of the law must advice litigants well on which cases should be tried as criminal and which ones should be adjudicated as a civil case.
He lamented that a similar incident happened where a civil case was tried criminally and the accused was jailed only for him to finish serving his term to sue the Judiciary for compensation.
The Appeal Court judge also appealed to investigators and prosecutors to ensure that forensic report on narcotic cases were presented to the court in reasonable time for the speedy determination of unbailable cases.
Litigants were also urged to accept the settlement of some of their civil cases using the alternative dispute resolution system as a way of decongesting the courts.
Opinion leaders, traditional leaders, and mediators who help settle cases from the Court, were also reminded to be objective in mediating and also file their settlement at the Court for it to be binding on parties.
Justice Adjei however cautioned against the settlement of criminal cases outside the courts, especially robbery, rape, defilement which were aggravated in nature.
He stressed that settling of such offences only serve as a catalyst for others to emulate, therefore cautioning opinion leaders to desist from intervening in such matters.The Appeal Court Judge also pleaded with private and commercial drivers to observe some discipline on the road especially as the yuletide approaches in order not to inundate the court with traffic offences.
He reminded drivers that driving beyond 100 kilometres per hour on the motorway and highways was a criminal offence.
He added that selling on the streets and at the toll boots has been criminalized and therefore called on the Assembly to clear the streets of hawkers.
Mr Ibrahim Baidoo, Ashaiman Municipal Chief Executive, said the establishment of a Circuit Court in Ashaiman in 2009 brought justice to the door step of residents.
Mr Baidoo said the status of that court was however reviewed to a Magistrate Court following the degree of cases that was settled at the court.
He stated that the Assembly was very happy when the Chief Justice decided to bring back a circuit court to the Municipality which was officially opened on June 2, 2014 at ASHMA's assembly hall.
The MCE indicated that his outfit solely financed the construction of the Circuit Court building to provide the needed logistics to run the administration of justice at the court.
A moot court was held after the inauguration where Justice Gabriel Teye, presiding over the court, granted bail in the sum of GHC 3000 to Mohammed Mortey, with one surety, for allegedly stealing a taxi.
Motey, who pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit crime to wit stealing and stealing, was granted bail to re-appear on November 5, 2015.
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