REVIEWING THE LAW ON CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

crime The revelation by Justice Samuel Marful-Sau, an Appeal Court Judge that it is only the Attorney-General’s Department that has the mandate to prosecute and not the police, has come as food for thought to many.

The Appeal Court Judge explains that the Constitution the supreme law of the land mandates the Attorney-General’s Department to either prosecute cases, or delegate state institutions to train officers to do so.

Speaking at a training workshop in Accra for 40 officers of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last Monday, Justice Marful-Sau said the police were doing the prosecution as a stop gap measure, because they have been mandated by the A-G’s Department.

As a matter of fact, Executive Instrument 9 of 1999 empowers the A-G’s Department to prosecute and also delegate powers to state institutions to train their officers to prosecute their cases.

Ordinarily, this should not be a matter of concern, but the performance of police prosecutors over the last few years, makes this revelation something to ponder over.

For those conversant with the law, Justice Marful-Sau’s revelation may mean nothing, but for non-lawyers, they may be asking questions about police prosecutors and their performance.

It is public knowledge that some police prosecutors have performed excellently, despite their limited capacities, while others have performed woefully and allowed good cases to slip through their fingers.

It would be worthless recounting the number of high-profile cases which police prosecutors have lost, due to insufficient or doubtful evidence presented in the courts.

Ours is not to insist that police prosecutors must, at all material times, obtain judgement against persons accused of criminal offences.

But if we should continue to use police prosecutors, then they must acquire the requisite skills to enable them to handle cases dispassionately, and ensure that justice is done to all manner of people.

In that case, convictions will be actually given the guilty, and acquittal for the innocent.

Unfortunately, to the chagrin of many, some police prosecutors arraign suspects before the courts, with evidence which sometimes leads to miscarriage of justice.

It is for this reason that the Times welcomes the suggestion that the law be reviewed to allow for the training of more police prosecutors, giving them the requisite skills to do credible prosecution.

We need a new breed of police prosecutors who are efficient and imbued with a sense of dignity and commitment, to obtain justice for all, at all times.

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