Cambridge Researcher and Convener of the #FixTheCountry Movement, Oliver Barker-Vormawor, has called for the reintroduction of private prosecutions into Ghana’s justice system.
He stated that the practice inherited from the colonial masters has now been discarded in favour of Fiats from the Attorney-General’s office, which he describes as inadequate to meet the citizenry’s demands.
Talking about private prosecutions, he said, “All you need to get is a lawyer and then go ahead and seek a prosecution of something that was affecting you.”
Speaking on JoyNews’ The Law, Sunday, October 17, Barker-Vormawor stated that “The Attorney General’s Fiat which has been exercised and given to various institutions, forestry, and other commissions are institutionally led.”
“But I am thinking about; you know one of the things that was done by my friend Justice…also a criminologist at Cambridge is to look at the number of cases that the police had prosecuted out of the number of cases that had been reported. And less than 15% of all cases reported to the police are in fact prosecuted year to year,” he added.
He further explained that those that suffer most from the inadequate prosecution of cases by state agencies are women.
“And a particular area that this affects is issues around sexual violence on women. Those are the most under-prosecuted areas of our law, and it is a big problem,” he said.
He advised that in the reformulation of a new constitution, as is being campaigned for by the #FixTheCountry Movement, private prosecutions could be reintroduced to deal with the excess cases that otherwise would have been shelved and never revisited.
“So one of the things which we could do which exists in other democracies is that persons or NGOs can have a prosecutor who takes on those cases and prosecutes on their behalf and takes on the cost of prosecution.
“And currently, I understand there’s no way which individuals can seek those prosecutions and be able to move certain things forward if the Attorney General says I’m not going to work on it,” he said.
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