By Nana Osei Kyeretwie/Christopher Tetteh, GNA
Sunyani, July 16, GNA – The Justice for All Programme (JFAP) in the Brong-Ahafo Region for 2018 under the auspices of the Ghana Remand Review Task Force has been very successful.
Justice Clemence J. Honyenuga, an Appeal Court Judge and the Chair of the Task Force declared on Friday in Sunyani and therefore commended the local stakeholders for a job well done.
He was speaking to the media after the sitting of three High Courts constituted within the premises of the Sunyani Central Prison to sit over the cases of 76 remand prisoners who had applied for bail at the Station.
The Task Force comprise representatives of the Judicial Service, the Office of the Attorney-General, the Ghana Prison and Police Services, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the Legal Aid Board.
He said it was successful because all the stakeholders-the Police Investigators, the team of Lawyers from the Brong-Ahafo Regional Bar Association led by Mr. Andrew Tuah-Yeboah, its President, State Attorneys, the Regional Prison Command, the Justices from the High Court and the Media played their respective roles to expectation.
Justice Honyenuga lauded the Police Investigators, State Attorneys and the Regional Commander of Prison, saying they did their jobs very well and that accounted for the smooth sitting of the Courts.
He said statistically out of the 76 applicants, 14 were discharged, one was convicted and fined, three were convicted and imprisoned, 21 applications for bail were refused, four were referred for psychiatric treatment, three were absent and 30 granted bail.
Justice Honyenuga cited that most of the sureties were present to sign the bail bond for the applicants for the latter to go home immediately and that attested to the success of the process.
He stated that unlike other places that the Task Force had visited, the problem had always been with bail, explaining that some applicants after having been granted bail still remained in the prison because the Police investigators had not been cooperating, but the opposite had been the case in the Sunyani sitting.
This was because “It is very demoralising to put in a lot of hard work, then somebody would sit somewhere only to criticise for the downfall of the programme,” he lamented and therefore pleaded with those people “who are fond of that to be a bit circumspect”.
Later in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Deputy Superintendent of Prison (DSP) Stephen Nti, Officer in charge of records at the Sunyani Central Prison, explained that the Courts under the JFAP had the status of a High Court set up by the Chief Justice for the speedy trial of remand prisoners whose cases had delayed in the traditional Courts.
DSP Nti disclosed that the Sunyani Central Prison had the capacity for 400 inmates but as at the close of work on Friday, the number stood at 915, excluding 18 females at the Sunyani Female Prison.
He therefore lauded the JFAP as “very beneficial to the Prison Service because in prison space is an essential commodity”.