strike

Some jurors in the Bono and Ahafo regions have threatened to suspend services in the High Courts from Monday, November 27.

The jurors say until their allowances are paid, they will not report to court to give verdict in criminal cases.

Speaking to JoyNews, the Deputy Secretary of the Jurors, Desmond Oppong explained that, the two-day ultimatum issued to government is to ensure their demands are met before a drastic action is taken.

“I am having the minimum number of cases but I can confidently tell you that I am sitting on about 10 cases and there are just 25 of us. So all criminal cases have been shared amongst us and I am the one with the least number of cases. We have 5 courts, two commercial courts and three other courts. Courts one, two, three and commercial courts A and B, that is 5. And we sit in all of them from Friday to Friday.

“So those who have many cases sit there from morning to evening. You go there and you don’t even have an office to sit in. You are sitting on the bench with the criminals that are being presented to the court. They just look at your face and identify you and you are walking on the street and someone will recognize and greet you based on a verdict you gave in a case and yet you provide the services and they don’t pay us a pesewa on our transportation and sitting allowance.

“If by 27th November they have not paid us our outstanding arears we will withdraw our services and we have assured them that the moment they pay us we will all organize ourselves and come back,” he stressed.

The latest threat of a strike action follows previous ones made by other jurors across the country.

In the Greater Accra region, the protest by the jurors last Monday compelled judges to adjourn cases of murder at the Accra High Court.

Sources who spoke to JoyNews alleged that, the jurors decided to lay down their tools because their allowances from January to June 2023 had not been paid. 

This action was imitated in the Upper West region where adjudication of rape, murder and manslaughter cases had to be suspended after members of the jury staged a walkout.

The jurors numbering about 25 accused government of unfair treatment as their allowances have been in arrears since 2021.

In the Ashanti Region, the striking jurors alleged that Judicial Service has since March 2022, failed to pay their allowances, which are calculated based on the number of hearings attended.

The absence of the jurors subsequently affected criminal cases in the high courts including the case in which a police inspector is accused of killing his girlfriend at Adum in Kumasi.

Although government on Tuesday, November 14, released funds for the payment of 2022 arrears.

The jurors have described the payment as peanut, insisting they will only resume work upon receipt of all outstanding arrears.

ALSO READ: