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General News of Thursday, 8 June 2017


Galamsey arrests: Probe cases well - Justice Dotse charges security agencies

A Supreme Court judge, Justice Jones Dotse, has charged security agencies to meticulous about investigations into the activities of persons arrested for their alleged involvement in ‘galamsey’ and pay attention to how the cases are prosecuted.

These, he said, are critical if the state is to successfully prosecute the suspects.

“If charges against suspects do not measure up, judges have no option than to acquit.

“The entire country has now been psyched against illegal mining. Arrests are being made all over the place.

“They have to be properly investigated and well prosecuted,” he said.

Justice Dotse was speaking during the launch of OneGhana Movement, a social action group whose first project is to seek justice for victims of June 3 Flood and Fire disaster victims.

He explained that a case that is properly investigated but improperly prosecuted before the court, especially calling witnesses whose evidence are immaterial and leaving out witnesses with material evidence, cannot end up in conviction.

According to him, judges adjudicate cases based on the evidence provided them by security agencies, and thus cannot go beyond such evidence to make judgements.

“In Ghana, just like any other common law countries, the judges decide cases on the basis of the evidence that is adduced in the court.

“It is not like the judges in the civil law countries who have certain powers who can even determine the course of the investigation.

“So, sometimes, when civil society organisations and the media criticise the judiciary, these are our limitations,” he added.

For example, Justice Dotse said in a case of murder ingredients, the victim died as a result of unlawful harm, the harm was intentionally caused and that it was caused by the accused have to be established to secure conviction.

“Somebody is dead, he died as a result of unlawful harm, that harm was intentionally caused by the accused.

“In putting forth this simple case, if you call witnesses without calling the pathologist, who performed the medical examination, and it becomes contentious as to how the deceased died, how do you expect the judge or, sometimes, the jury to make up their mind on the cause of the death? So these are the issues you all must follow and understand,” he said.

The Supreme Court judge urged security agencies to beef up their efforts in enhancing effective justice delivery.

“I will say that what we need to do in this country is to ensure that all the agencies involved in security – Police, Immigration, Narcotics, EOCO, need to be strengthened.

“We need to allow them to do their work. Because their work does not end with them, it ends up in court.

“If they don’t do their work well, then when the cases come to court, people blame the courts for cases that do not go in their favour. If the judges make the judgment and it does not measure up, then the judges are blamed”, he said. Justice Dotse appealed to Ghanaians to desist from blaming judges if cases do not go the way they wanted.

“We must be firm in everything that we do and public servants must behave according to your rules of engagement,” he added.

OneGhana Movement

The dwindling sense of responsibility on the part of citizens, the constant politicisation of all issues in Ghana and the lack of accountability in public sectors of the economy, gave birth to OneGhana Movement.

OneGhana seeks to help build a Ghana that the future generation can be proud of - a Ghana of responsible citizens, a Ghana that prioritises the national interest over partisan, religious, tribal and sectarian interests, a Ghana that ensures policy and citizen accountability, a Ghana that truly honours the National Pledge.

OneGhana, as part of its citizen responsibility and policy accountability objectives, is pursuing justice for victims of the June 3 2015 avoidable disaster.

It is the expectation of the movement that the pursuit of justice will result in fair compensation to victims and their families and punishment to culpable officials.

But, even more importantly, drive home the sense of accountability and responsibility on the part of citizens, corporate Ghana and public officials - in that the citizens shall be emboldened not to allow their rights and privileges to be trampled upon while public servants and politicians shall realise that they will be held accountable for their actions and must give their optimum service.

OneGhana shall provide both legal and advocacy services to victims and their families to realise the project objectives.

While this is the first project OneGhana is embarking on, it is definitely not the only one. There shall be series of projects to address other occurrences and drive leadership aspirations in the efforts to help transform citizens and governance attitudes for the development of Ghana.