51 remand prisoners released under JFA programme in Brong-Ahafo

A total of 51 prison inmates on remand at the Sunyani Central Prison and Duayaw-Nkwanta and Kenyase Prison Settlement Camps in the Brong-Ahafo Region were on Friday released under the “Justice for All” (JFA) programme.

They comprised 22 discharged and 29 including a female who were granted bail out of 82 remand prisoners who applied for review of their cases under the auspices of the Ghana Remand Review Taskforce. 

The Taskforce chaired by Justice Clemence Honyenuga, an Appeal Court Judge, comprised representatives of the Judicial Service of Ghana, the Office of the Attorney-General, the Ghana Prisons and Police Services.

Aided by POS Foundation, the Taskforce constituted three High Courts – One, Two and Three at the Sunyani Central Prison for that purpose.

Justice Patrick Bayeh and Justice Constant K. Hometowu, High Court Judges worked alongside with Justice Honyenuga who sat as an additional High Court Judge to respectively preside over the Courts.

The POS Foundation, working as Programme Facilitators on behalf of Remand Prisoners is a human rights-centred NGO with the core mandate of promoting human rights, youth development and social accountability.

It has legally existed since 2005 and in 2014 was given the franchise by the Judicial Service to coordinate the JFA programme and subsequently facilitating it till date by providing legal aid to remand prison inmates.

Briefing the media after the Courts’ sitting, Justice Honyenuga described the session as “very successful and one of the best-organised in the country”.

He explained 22 of the applications were refused, five stricken out because the applicants’ cases were being heard in the Courts whilst four applicants were referred for psychiatry treatment.  

Later in an interview, Mr Ernest Aye, a Principal State Attorney at the Attorney General’s department in Sunyani, expressed the hope that the JFA programme would be done at least twice in year because the judicial system was saddled with a number of delayed cases due to various factors.

He cited among others the increasing volume of cases in the system but limited number of human resource to handle them as well as a lot of suspects  who were still on remand because they were though granted bail but could not meet the bail conditions. 

Deputy Director of Prison (DPP) Robin Kwasi Asamoah Fenning, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Prisons Commander, expressed joy that the event had created space and relived his outfit of the pressure of inadequate accommodation for the inmates.  

He also called for the programme to be organised not only once in a year but three times or more because besides its health benefits for the inmates, there were other advantages like promoting effective management of the prison system in the interest of both the personnel and the inmates. 

The youngest and the oldest among those discharged was a juvenile of 16 years and a man of over 50 years whilst the longest remand term amongst all the cases reviewed was six years and the shortest two months.

Source: GNA

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