Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah

 Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah says Ghana’s justice delivery system has internal corrective mechanisms for persons whose conviction or trial might have suffered injustice.

However, it took those with the means to trigger the law, he said.

“A well-funded national Legal Aid Scheme should be an important programme that as a nation, we should commit our resources to for our people,” Chief Justice Anin said this in a speech read on his behalf at the premiering of a documentary dubbed: “The untold story of Ama Forson,” at the Law Court Complex in Accra.

Ama Forson is a beneficiary of In Prison Paralegal Programme/Appeal of POS Foundation, which empowers inmates to file an appeal by themselves when their conviction or trial might have suffered miscarriage of justice because of their inability to secure a good lawyer to cross examine evidence adduced against them.

Ama Forson, a food vendor, was jailed 11 years for possession of narcotics (Indian hemp), a crime she denied and said she was innocent.

The 67-year-old was acquitted and discharged when she appealed against her conviction.

Chief Justice Yeboah, in his speech read by Justice Gabriel Pwamang, a Justice of the Supreme Court, called for the institutionalisation of POS Foundation concept of In-Prison Paralegal Programme by continuously perusing the records of convicts who had reasons to believe that they were innocent and had been wrongfully incarcerated.

He said because of the complex nature of crime, the law had an elaborate provision aimed at ensuring that whiles criminals were effectively dealt with, innocent persons were not mistakenly punished in the process of crime fighting.

“Police or prosecutors may, out of zeal or human error, present evidence, which may not be true. This evidence may enter into the records of court because accused might not have a lawyer or may have an inexperienced lawyer to cross examine on the wrongful evidence,” he said.

“But the system has made provision for such unfortunate slips to be corrected by appeal or review of the judicial processes.”

Chief Justice Yeboah said the limitation of the corrective system, however, required money and the cost of the services of a lawyer to curtail such mishap in those instances.

The intervention of POS Foundation and its partners came in handy to assist the system to correct itself, he said, and commended the Foundation for organising a virtual court under the Justice for All Programme for inmates as the world battled with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Justice Yeboah said the Judiciary, under his watch, “is committed to our role in the fight against crime by ensuring that those who make it their business to disturb the peace of this country are punished according to the law of the country.”

He noted that in recent times there had been some persons or miscreants engaged in criminal acts and pledged the Judiciary’s resolve to rigidly enforce the law.

“We can only do our work if the Police and the Attorney General are able to gather sufficient evidence against those they prosecute in court.”

Ms Virginia Elliot, the Acting Deputy Chief of Missions at the United States Embassy, said the greatness of a nation was measured on how it treated the marginalised.

She said the US Government was providing support by training prosecutors and lawyers on the Case Tracking System where criminal cases would be monitored from start to finish.

The Chief Executive Officer of KAB FAM Ghana Limited, Mr Charles Antwi Boahen, dealers in electrical appliances, donated a cheque for GH¢ 20,000 to Ama Forson, who had no fixed place of abode, to start a business.

Touched by Madam Forson’s plight, Mr Boahen pledged to provide her with some appliances as a start-up for her business.