Justice Mrs.Theodora Wood to transform Justice system

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Her Ladyship, Justice Mrs Goergina Theodora Wood, the Chief Justice (CJ), has outlined measures for the promotion of the Justice for All Programme which intended to decongest the various prisons.Chief Justice

Some of the measures outlined by the CJ include the review of the criminal justice system, adoption of non custodial sentence and the need by the Police Administration to revise its protocol to prevent arbitrary arrest and detentions.

Mrs Georgina Wood said this in a speech read on her behalf at a symposium in Accra organised by Help Law Ghana, on the theme ?Decongestion of Ghana?s Prisons: Are Justice For All Programmes the best approach?.

She said the Ghana Sentencing Guidelines had also been launched to aid speedy adjudication of criminal cases and reduce the incidence of high number of remand prisons.

She said as a way of decongesting the various prisons, some High Court Judges had been tasked to have their sittings at the various prisons every two weeks for adjudication and urged the Police to help provide the needed witnesses for speedy trial.

Mrs Georgina Wood said Judges and Magistrates had also been advised to frequently visit the various prisons to make informed decisions regarding sentencing.

She gave the assurance that, the Judiciary would continue to institute programmes aimed at decongesting the various prisons.

Mr Joe Ghartey, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General and Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament who instituted the Justice For All Programme in 2006, said the Programme was intended to protect the vulnerable in society and called for its consolidation to help achieve its target.

Mr Nathaniel Agyemang Onyinah, Chief Superintendent of Prisons, said through the Justice For All Programme, a high number of remand prisoners were arraigned and while some were granted bail, others were discharged and few ones convicted, thereby saving the nation huge amount of money in terms of feeding cost.

He described the Programme as very laudable and urged Judges who sat at the prisons to adjudicate cases to extend their sittings to the other prisons but not to just few ones.

Mr Kojo Graham, Executive Director of the Centre for Human Right and Civil Liberties, said some of the causes of the increasing number of remand prisoners included inadequate state attorneys, longer investigations as well the increasing number of adjourning cases.

He called for the addressing of those challenges, as well as the computerisation of the judicial system for speedy resolution of cases.

Mr Eric Delanyo Alifo, Founder of Help Law Ghana, a legal aid service, said the Justice For All Programme was needed to help decongest the various prisons, as well as provide justice for the wrongly accused persons who found themselves in prisons.

GNA

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