Nsawam Prison gets new high court facility

prisonThe Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood on Thursday inaugurated a high court within the premises of the Nsawam Maximum Security Prisons.

The facility, supported by the British High Commission, will ensure speedy trial of remand prisoners to cut down on over-crowding in the prisons.

Mrs Wood, speaking at the event, said the inauguration of the facility was an unprecedented initiative that demonstrated the judicial service’s commitment to rule of law.

She said it would enhance fair trial and prisoner rights under the constitutional rule, adding that the provision of the high court was a major step to ensure that the guaranteed rights of prisoners were protected.“It is the high point of our abiding faith in access to justice,” she added.

The Chief Justice indicated that the inauguration was in recognition of the nation’s commitment to the internationally accepted minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners.

She said since the inception of the “Justice for All Programme,” about 2,538 applications have been heard by the remand court.

Currently, 624 remand prisoners have been discharged, 672 applications have been granted bail and 91 persons have been convicted to serve various terms of imprisonment.

She expressed the hope that the court would enable cases of remand prisoners to be disposed off expeditiously and therefore, contribute to decongesting the prisons.
She said the court would be presided over by a Justice of the High Court, who would exercise criminal jurisdiction conferred on all high courts.

The Chief Justice mentioned that the Judge will additionally, exercise jurisdiction as a Judge of the Circuit court and District magistrate.
“The ‘triple-hat’, which will be conferred on the Judge under warrant under my hand, is to ensure that the court hears all manner of criminal cases pertaining to remand prisoner, depending on the workload,” she added.
Matilda Baffour-Awuah, the Controller-General of Prisons, said the Prisons Service has established a unit to provide technical assistance to the “Justice for All Programme”.

According to her, the Unit is also organizing clinics for prisoners, who intends to appeal their sentences, adding that with the provision of the facility, it would cut down the risks of transporting remand prisoners from the prisons to courts in Accra on daily basis.

Dr Stephen Yenusom Wengam, the Chairman of the Prisons Council, commended the Chief Justice for her efforts to site a high court at the door step of the prisons.

He expressed the hope that the court would help check the undue delays associated with justice delivery in the country

source: citifmonline.com