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General News of Sunday, 6 April 2014

Source: Ivan Heathcote-Fumador/Ultimate Radio/Kumasi

Agyare’s suffering in cells a wake up call – AG

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, has decried the incidence where suspected criminals are remanded for years without trial. Ghana has recently witnessed one such landmark case in which a man spent fourteen years in cells without trial.

Forty-two-year-old Francis Agyare eventually sued the state for abusing his fundamental human rights and was awarded a 240,000 cedis cost against the state.

Francis Agyare was arrested with 57 other suspected criminals at James town beach in 1994.

Recounting how Agyare’s case was finally brought to the fray of discussions, the Attorney General in an exclusive interview with Kumasi-based Ultimate Radio narrated that, “it is very important for us to know that Francis Agyare was freed under the Justice For All Programme. We went to the prisons to find out people who had been kept there for some time without due process, and he was one of those who were released on the Justice For All Programme.”

Friday April 4, 2014 was exactly 22 days after Francis Agyare won that suit against the state.

In accordance with the state proceedings Act, a certificate of judgment is to be presented to him to be served on the Attorney General and the Accountant General for his claims.

Commenting on steps her outfit was taking to prevent the recurrence of the worrisome incident which has caused both the state and the victim losses, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah Oppong said her office was concerned about these lapses in the justice delivery system and is working out strategies to rectify these anomalies.

“I and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), we have started looking at strategies to ensure that some of these things don’t keep on recurring. Indeed, you are aware that every year we conduct a Justice For All Programme to correct some of these lapses, but I don’t believe we need to wait for a Justice For All Programme to do that. This is a wake up call for all of us,” she stressed.

She gave assurances that her outfit was committed to this course and in due time, several transformations will be rolled out in the prisons and the courts to ensure speedy resolution of cases.

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