Thirteen remanded prisoners at the Koforidua Prisonswere freed by the special court that sat at the prisons under the Justice for All Project.
Fifteen of the remanded prisoners were granted bail, the remand imposed on 13 other prisoners were upheld by the court while three of the remand prisoners were convicted by the courts.
The three special courts were headed by Justice Constant Hometowu, an appeal court judge, Justice Abdallah Iddrisu and Justice Clemence Honyenuga both high court judges who sat for a little over two hours to review the remand cases of 44 persons at the prisons.
Among the prisoners freed included a case where a youngman who was accused of stealing a chicken had been on remand for two years while another who stole snails also had been on remand for six months.
The Justice for All Project is being organised under the Access to Justice for Remand Prisoner IV, 2014 Project which is being organised by the POS Foundation, Human Right Advocacy Centre in partnership with Centre for Law and Development Policy of GIMPA Law School and collaborating with the Judicial Service, Attorney Generals Department, Ghana Police Service and Ghana Prison’s Service with funding from STAR-Ghana, a multi-donor funded organisation.
The Access to Justice Project seeks to alleviate overcrowding at the prisons by setting up special courts to adjudicate on remand prisoners’ cases with the support of the Judicial Service, the Attorney Generals Department, the Police the Prison Service and Ghana Bar Association.
During the hearing of the cases, the remand prisoners were offered free legal representation by Mr Isaac Aidoo and Ms Juliet Dabe Agboh, both private legal practitioners and Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Badu, a lecturer at the GIMPA law School.
This year, the Access to Justice Project had provided the opportunity for cases of 389 remand prisoners in six prisons in the country to be reviewed.
The prisons where the project had organised the special courts include, Winneba, Ankafu, Tarkwa, Sekondi, Kumasi and Koforidua prisons.
Commenting on the project, Mr Jonathan Osei Owusu, Executive Director of POS Foundation explained that, the project helps to resolve the challenges that arise in efforts to control crime and the upholding of the right of accused persons.
He said, in crime control, it is important that due process is followed to avoid abuse of the human rights of the accused persons