Programmes Officer for the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), African Office, Esther Ahulu, says people are usually denied speedy justice delivery in the country because they are unable to afford legal services.
She attributes the situation to a number of factors including the inability of less-privileged individuals to afford the services of lawyers and some challenges confronting the Legal Aid Commission (LAC).
In an interview on The Law on JoyNews, she argued that people who, ordinarily, should not spend even a day in detention end up being in Police custody for more than the stipulated 48 hours.
“I don’t know what else we can do because a lot of education has been going on concerning this but then I think the problem is that people lack access to legal assistance because it is not easy; it’s not affordable for people to just access lawyers to assist them in the process.
“We all know that Legal Aid Commission is the state institution that is mandated to do that but they also have their own challenges so this thing never happens… you know how our state agencies operate, especially the police, the security agencies and others.
“I mean, there is intimidation in the process and all that so you are even aware that you are not supposed to spend beyond 48 hours but you are with them so what do you do when there is nobody to assist?” she wondered.
Esther Ahulu added that sometimes the Legal Aid Commission is not even aware of people who have been arrested and would need the services of a lawyer.
It so for this reason she joined calls for the implementation of the Ghana Case Tracking System (CTS).
“I believe infusing technology into the system is the way to go. If this CTS is working as it is expected, you cannot keep somebody beyond 48 hours – you will keep the person but there will be somewhere that the system will be showing for other stakeholders to be aware that there is a problem somewhere.
“This system will now help because it has all these institutions on one platform. It is built in such a way that immediately the person reports or the police arrest the person and they enter the information on the system, Legal Aid Commission gets an alert immediately,” she explained.
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