Eleven Courts sat at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons Tuesday to hear over 300 remand cases, expired warrants and other related cases.

The courts were made up of eight magistrate’s courts, two circuit courts and one High Court.

The magistrate’s courts were the Osu, La, Madina, Community Centre, City Engineers, James Town, Amasaman and Adjabeng, whilst the two circuit courts were from the Cocoa Affairs Court.

Mr Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Justice of the Appeal Court, who sat as an additional High Court Judge, was appointed by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina T. Wood, to supervise the sitting of the courts on the prison’s premises.

The High Court was mandated to sit in the prisons because some of the cases were murder and rape, which are beyond the jurisdiction of the magistrate’s and circuit courts, while some had to be referred to the Attorney-Generals Department for advice.

The sitting followed a directive by the Chief Justice to the various courts to deal with the cases, which had been the subject of media reports and discussions.

It also came in the wake of the government’s commitment not to subscribe to the selective application of justice in the governance of the country.

Briefing newsmen before the sitting of the courts, a circuit court judge, Justice Mahama Iddrisu, indicated that the purpose of the sitting was to renew the warrant of arrests of prisoners to legalise their stay in custody.

The total number of inmates currently at the Nsawam Prisons is 2,918, which inc1udes 1,711 on remand, 77 condemned, 77 on life sentence and the others on various charges.

A visit round the courts by the Daily Graphic revealed that most of the cases had not been continued because of the inconclusive nature of investigations by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, resulting in some of the prisoners being on remand for up to 15 years.

In one of the hearings at the Amasaman court, further probing by the judge revealed that a murder case involving Osumanu Awuni Kwadwo had been on remand since April 2007 and had been abandoned by the investigator.

Osumanu told the court that he was supposed to appear in court two weeks after the first hearing of his case but his investigator had categorically told him that he was not going to come back and so he should pray to God for a miracle.

The court broke into laughter when he said this. Godwin Bedi, a 23-year-old inmate, said he was arrested on suspicion of robbery when he was 15 years old and had been on remand for eight years since 2000.

According to him, the investigator who was handling his case was transferred after he appeared only once at the Adjabeng Court and had been on remand since then because no investigator had been assigned to handle his case.

Source: Daily Graphic