A total of 17 prisoners, held on remand at the Koforidua prison, were discharged under the Justice for All Programme (JFAP) mobile court session held in Koforidua.
Two others were convicted and imprisoned, 21 were granted bail, 10 had their bail applications refused, and five other prisoners had their cases struck out.
These cases were selected and tried by the Ghana Remand Review Taskforce (GRRT) under JFAP, because these prisoners were unable to hire lawyers to represent them.
Justice Clemence Honyenuga, Chairman of GRRT, who presided over one of the two mobile courts that sat to judge the 55 remand cases, noted that since the commencement of the JFAP 11 years ago, the government of Ghana for the first time solely funded the project without the assistance of a donor.
He added that from October the programme would be decentralised across the country and would now be handled by high court Judges within the various regions.
“The taskforce would continue to review and select the cases to be tried under the programme, however the high court Judges would only set a date for the sittings,” the Chairman added.
This he noted would ease the burden of the team that was normally sent from Accra to settle cases across the country.
Justice Honyenuga expressed his gratitude to the Perfector of Sentiments (POS) foundation who was the facilitator of the event.
He thanked the state attorneys, the pro bono lawyers, the police and the Judicial Service for their aid and contributions to the programme.
While commending the Justice for All Programme initiative, the commander of the Koforidua Central Prisons, Deputy Director of Prisons(DDP), Benedict Bob-Dery expressed dissatisfaction with congestion in the Koforidua prison cells.
He said the facility which was originally built for a little over 400 inmates now accommodates over 730 inmates.
The Justice for All Programme was instituted in 2007 to help reduce overcrowding in the prisons across the country.
From FREDERICK GADESE-MENSAH, Koforidua