17 remand prisoners freed

A 73-year-old woman, Hawa Alenonyorge who has been on remand for over a year for possessing  a quantity of Indian hemp was among 17 prisoners discharged by the Justice for All Programme at the Sunyani Central Prison.

Out of 37 applications which were looked into by the Committee, nine were granted bail, seven denied bail and four convicted because they pleaded guilty to their charges.

The Committee, led by a Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Clemence Honyenuga were in Brong-Ahafo last Friday to sit on cases involving prisoners who have been on remand without trial for a long time.

Briefing the media after the sitting, Justice Honyenuga praised the lawyers who defended the remand prisoners on “probono”.

He announced that the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Wood, had appointed two judges in each region to continue with the programme in order to decongest the country’s prisons.

“The Chief Justice was also in the process of establishing a Remand Prisoners Secretariat to fast track the speedy trial of remand prisoners,” he said.

He said the 2016 budget had made provision for funds to run the secretariat and commended the government for the move.

Justice Honyenuga was also full of praise for the police, the state attorneys  and the prison officers for their respective roles in ensuring the success of the exercise.

The Regional Commander of the Ghana Prison Service, Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP), Nahii Alhassan, thanked the Justice for All team for undertaking the exercise which has brought relief to the 17 remand prisoners.

He stressed the need to extend the programme to cover convicted prisoners to further decongest the country’s prisons.

According to DDP Alhassan, the Sunyani Central Prison was built to contain 500 prisoners but now houses over 900 inmates.

 From Daniel Dzirasah,Sunyani

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