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General News of Thursday, 19 March 2015

Source: starrfmonline.com

Rape, drug use must be bailable – Woyongo


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Ghana must review some offences in the criminal justice system which have been classified as non-bailable to help in decongesting the country’s prisons, the Minister of Interior Mark Woyongo has said.

According to Woyongo, offences such as rape and drug use or possession of drugs must be bailable and not equated to other offences like murder.

“Someone is arrested with a roll of marijuana and he is thrown in there for months or years…some countries have legalised it; I am not saying we should legalise it but at least we shouldn’t equate it with murder.

“Sometimes rape cases; someone is put in there for years on end… no bail,” Woyongo said when he called on the Attorney General as parts of efforts to expedite action on decongesting the nation’s prisons.

Rape, murder and treason are some of the non-bailable offences in the West African nation. While marijuana is legal in countries such as Uruguay and North Korea and in some States in the USA, it is completely illegal in Ghana and several countries around the world.

Mr. Woyongo added: “We need to look at some of these non-bailable offences. I believe that if you put somebody on remand after a certain period if you are not able to produce enough evidence to prosecute that person, he should be given bail.

“It’s only fair. I don’t see why you should keep somebody in prison custody for one year and you’re investigating for one year and you haven’t gotten enough evidence to prosecute that person and he is still in custody; for me it is unacceptable and we need to look at these things".

“Indeed and regrettably, our prisons are congested mainly with persons who are on remand who otherwise should have been given non-custodial sentences. This is indeed denting the image of Ghana on the international Human Rights circuit" Mr. Woyongo added.

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