The Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood being assisted by the Minister of Justice and Attorney- General Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong to cut the tape while the Director-General of Prisons, Madam Matilda Baffour Awuah and others look on,(inset) Court building.
A high court has been setup at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison in the Eastern Region of Ghana to help with the speedy trial of cases especially that of remand prisoners.
The court, which was funded by the British High Commission in Ghana, is intended to resolve the persistent challenge of remand prisoners unduly kept in cells without trial and also relieve the Prisons Service of the problem of transporting prison inmates to and from courts in Accra.
Delivering the keynote address at the event, the Chief Justice, her ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood, hailed the establishment of a High Court within the premises of a prison facility in Ghana as an unprecedented initiative that geographically demonstrates the Judicial Service’s deep commitment to the rule of law and enhancement of fair trial and prisoner rights under constitutional rule.
She stated that, the location of the court at the prison reiterated the commitment of stakeholders within the Justice delivery system to give practical meaning to the ideals and principles contained in the United Nations Human Rights Charters and Conventions that Ghana is a signatory to.
Her Ladyship Theodora Wood revealed that since the inception of the Justice for All programme seven years ago, justice have been administered to some deserving remand prisoners.
She vehemently debunked recent negative publications about the Justice for All Programme releasing armed robbers into the public domain to commit further crimes and said those reports were aimed at denigrating the Justice for All Programme and by extension, the Judiciary.
Mrs. Wood advocated for a collaboration and professionalism on the part of all stakeholders in the criminal justice system to ensure speedy discharge of prisoners affected by the Justice for All Programme.
The Minister of Justice and the Attorney General, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong for her part, praised the Chief Justice for supporting this noble initiative and acknowledged the British High Commission for their contribution in setting up the court at the Nsawam Prison.
She mentioned that the high court will be beneficial to her ministry as well since lawyers usually go to courts to meet the absence of Prisoners due to transportation problems among others.
On her part, the Director-General of Prisons, Madam Matilda Baffour-Awuah expressed delight at the inauguration of the court as it would aid in justice delivery in Ghana, promote rule of law and respect for human rights since a suspect is innocent until proven otherwise by a competent court of jurisdiction, therefore remand prisoners deserved an immediate trial of their cases.
Madam Matilda Baffour Awuah declared that the non-custodial sentencing policy was the next on the agenda to be pursued by the Service.
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