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Opinions of Saturday, 13 March 2021

Columnist: Rockson Adofo

Could Self-confessing of guilty of an offence lead to successful prosecution and conviction?

Being guilty should not take the court so long to hear and rule on such a cases Being guilty should not take the court so long to hear and rule on such a cases

Being a layperson in the legal profession and intentionally acting ignorant in the hope of seeking to establish the true facts, prevailing laws and their applications, interpretations and relevancies to committed crimes, I am asking if self-confessing to committing a crime can lead to a successful prosecution and conviction. If yes, how long should it take to prosecute to convict the perpetrator of the crime? If no, why not?

Assuming Mr Kumasi has committed a crime, say murder, against Mr Kumawu, his bitterest rival. Mr Kumasi gets arrested on suspicion of the potential murderer. He is only arrested following certain clues but not on the 100% certainty that he has committed the crime. However, during the interrogations, without resort to any brutal methods of coercion to establish the truth, the suspect himself, thus Mr Kumasi, acknowledges that he killed his most hated rival, Mr Kumawu.

If the honest confession has been made without any police applications of assaults, waterboarding, electric shocks and other such illegal punishments inflicted on the suspect, should the confession by the suspect not be considered as vital evidence by the court to culminate in the successful prosecution and possible conviction of the suspected murderer, in which case it is Mr Kumasi?

How long should it take the court to hear and rule on such a case? Should it take the court years on end?

In the absence of the establishment of unsound mind against the murderer at the time of his self-confession of guilty of the offence, should he not be prosecuted and convicted without any further dithering, unnecessary deferments of his prosecution?

He could still be prosecuted whether for first-degree murder, manslaughter or diminished responsibility as may be proven by prosecutors based on investigations and necessary supporting evidence.

I find it extremely worrying where many a self-confessed murderer is remanded on end to prison without actually prosecuting them to lead to proper conviction to bring closure to their painful page of murder.

Unless self-confessing to committing a crime is not an offence in Ghana, I see no reason why certain notorious murderers in the country are still remanded to prison for years waiting to be properly prosecuted and convicted.

I am waiting on Ghana lawyers and legal luminaries for an answer to my question, the subject matter for this publication.

I dedicate this publication to Kumasi, the first child of the late Mr Awuni, once the cook for the late Honourable Krobo Edusei, the Member of Parliament for Sekyere East Constituency during the Convention People’s Party of Dr Kwame Nkrumah. I haven’t seen Kumasi and his brother Kwasi since their father moved the family to Kumasi City over half a century ago. My condolences to him on the death of his junior brother Joe and his father, Mr Awuni.