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General News of Friday, 7 April 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Judges panic over Delta Force attack in open court

The Judges and Magistrates Association of Ghana has expressed fear for the lives of its members a day after an attack on a court in Kumasi by members of the Delta Force, a vigilante group aligned to the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

According to the judges, the incident on Thursday has brought to light the threat they face each day with the inadequate security at the various courts in the country.

Addressing the press after an emergency meeting over the incident, the judges also called for an immediate arrest of all the people involved in the attack.

“We call on the authorities, to as a matter of urgency, particularly the police, to arrest and bring to normalcy the situation for peace loving Ghanaians to go about their lawful duties. Such acts are a threat and intimidation of the members of the judiciary. It should be most gratifying for us, and of course all Ghanaians, that all involved will be apprehended and dealt with according to law,” Justice Victor Ofoe, President of the Association said.

He also called on members of the Association especially in the Ashanti Region to stay calm.

“To our members, particularly in Kumasi, where the incident occurred, we call upon you to stay calm whilst an immediate solution is found to the impasse. We assure you that we are in discussions with the leadership of the Judicial Service towards providing maximum security to all the courts. As earlier directed, all members who have reason to feel threatened should through the Headship of the Regional Administration of the Service, report to the Regional Police commander for appropriate steps to be taken,” he added.

While describing the act by the Delta Force as “primitive, uncivilized, uncouth, primordial and criminal,” Justice Ofoe further called on the police to take steps to forestall such occurrences in the future.

“We call on the government, particularly the police hierarchy, as a matter of urgency, to take all necessary steps to allay the worries, fears and anxiety of all judges and magistrates in the region. We would, with all deference, strongly advise the police in future not to fail in their threat assessment of cases that come before the courts. Every court should be considered a flush point, a point that is worth the constant eye of the security agencies since criminal trials have the potential of emitting violence.”

Background

Members of the Delta Force stormed a Kumasi Circuit court on Thursday, and vandalized some court property as well as freeing 13 of their members, who were facing trial for allegedly harassing the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator, George Adjei.

The 13 escaped after some members of the vigilante group monitoring the court proceedings, sparked confusion during the hearing.

12 of them have subsequently turned themselves in to the Police, while eight of the Delta Force members who attacked the court have also been arrested.