Cabinet approves request for the amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act, 1960 (Act 30) – AG

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Mr Godfred Yeboah
Mr Godfred Yeboah

Mr Godfred Yeboah, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, says Cabinet has approved his request for the amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act, 1960 (Act 30) to incorporate plea bargaining firmly into the trial of cases.

He said, the amendment of the Act would allow plea bargaining to be permissible in trial of cases except for a few that would be set out in the Act.

“A critical look, in my view, ought to be taken at the procedure for trial of criminal cases in Ghana and the kinds of punishment inflicted after trial,” he said.
Mr Dame made the remarks during an official visit to the James Camp Prison and Senior Correctional Centre of the Ghana Prisons Service to familiarise with the activities and conditions of inmates.

He said the introduction of plea bargaining would be the most significant innovation in the process of reform of the criminal justice system which had the ultimate objective of easing congestion in the prisons.

The Attorney-General said in order to safeguard against abuses of the Act, plea bargaining would be done only with his consent and in line with his constitutional mandate under article 88, and done under strict conditions set out in the proposed Bill.

He stated that, the ‘Justice for All Programme,’ a state-led intervention, now fully sponsored by the state to ease prison overcrowding by setting up special courts to adjudicate cases involving remand prisoners, had not generally solved the problem of congestion in the prisons.

Mr Dame said his second innovation to ease congestion in the prisons was the passage of an Alternative Sentencing Act, an urgent necessity, hence, he had recently reviewed a draft Community Sentencing Bill, which he had charged the Director of Legislative Drafting in his office to come up with.

The draft Bill, he said, sought to provide options for sentencing other than prison term for various offences considered not to be too serious.

According to the Attorney General, it had been going through the process of stakeholder consultations and would soon be laid before Parliament upon conclusion of same.

“I am treating both pieces of legislation as part of my priority legislations this year,” he said.
He promised the Prison Service to lead the advocacy in improving conditions in the prisons.

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