KOFORIDUA: 18 Remand Prisoners freed

KOFORIDUA: 18 Remand Prisoners freed

Eighteen remand prisoners kept in custody for years have been freed under a justice for all programme reactivated as a result of Joy News Documentary "Locked and Forgotten."

Two High Court Judges Clemence Honyenuga, who is also chairman of the Justice for all programme, and another member of the programme Constance Hometowu pitched camp at the Koforidua prisons, Friday, to revisit forgotten cases of remand prisoners.

Joy News' Seth Kwame Boateng who championed the documentary reported that the freed prisoners were accused of various offences including narcotics.

Sitting like a court in the prisons, Judges Honyenuga and Hometowu acquitted and discharged some of the suspects, others were freed but with some conditions.

Some of the suspects had spent between three to five years on remand for crimes that would probably take a little less custodial sentence.

The common charges against the remand prisoners included theft, defrauding by false pretense, possession of narcotic drugs and murder.

A High court judge said he convicted about 31 but they would soon go home because their sentence covered the period of their detention.

The judges will then move to other prisons across the country after Friday's sittings.

The Justice for all programme introduced around 2008 to decongest the country's prisons was suspended following reports that some of the suspects who were released under the programme went back to commit other criminal offences.

But the chilling reports in Joy FM's documentary about the inhumane conditions in the country's prisons have led the judiciary to revisit its stance on remand prisoners and the justice for all programme.

The Chief Justice Mrs Georgina Wood has tasked all stakeholders in the judiciary to work towards restoring sanity in the prisons.

She assembled all judges and showed them documentary in order for them to see the horrifying conditions under which the prisoners were living.

The judges later took turns to visit the prisons across the country to see at first hand the heart wrenching conditions.

The resumption of the justice for all programme is part of many efforts to decongest the prisons.

Source: http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2015/March-20th/ten-remand-prisoners-freed-more-to-follow.php

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