The Judiciary Service in the Upper East Region has launched the 2021 Criminal Assizes at the Bolgatanga High Court with a call on stakeholders to work effectively to ensure its sustainability.
Criminal Assizes session in the High Court is constituted by a single judge with selected jurors to participate in the administration of justice regarding serious cases mostly of indictment such as murder, rape, robbery among others.
Justice Charles A. Wilson, the Regional Supervising High Court Judge who officially opened the Criminal Assizes, said there were significant numbers of persons in the prison and police cells who are yet to be tried.
He said, the situation have over the years created apparent injustice in the society and law operators including the judiciary, the Bar, the police and the prisons needed to be committed and collaborate to sustain the system to address such issues.
“I am quite startled at the level of crime in this region and the large number of persons behind bars without trial. When someone is arraigned and remanded, the legal profession loses interest and sometimes thinks that the process has ended.
“When the prisoner is taken away, the attention turns to the next case, as members of the Bar you have the responsibility to acknowledge the suffering of victims in detention without trial, the Bar is an essential catalyst to addressing the rights, freedom and liberty of ordinary citizens,” he said.
Justice Wilson admonished the jurors to study and be objective and should be guided by the principles of the presumption of innocence as well as avoid media discussion of cases before them.
“Do not entertain or listen to comments from faceless and anonymous interpreters of the law or judges. The decision in the court room is yours, hand down fair minded, rational and principled judgment without fear or favour”, he said.
Mr Afoko Amoah, the Regional President of the Ghana Bar Association, said the opening of the Criminal Assizes would significantly impact justice delivery in the region especially criminal cases.
He assured the judiciary service and members of the public of the full cooperation of the Association, to ensure that it succeeds and deliver justice to deserved persons.