Six prisoners who were being held on remand at the Sekondi Prison for various offences were freed last Friday by the special court that sat at the prison under the ‘Justice for All Project.’
The six were cautioned to be of good behaviour by the judges before being discharged.
Eighteen other prisoners on remand were granted bail. One had the bail application refused while another one was referred to the psychiatric hospital.
The cases of three remand prisoners were struck out by the two special courts which were presided over by Justices Clemence Honyenuga and Hanna Taylor of the Court of Appeal and High Court respectively. Two other prisoners were convicted.
Some of those granted bail broke down in tears, claiming that they would not be able to satisfy the bail conditions, especially getting people to stand surety for them.
The prisoners were offered free legal representation during the hearing of the cases. The lawyers included Lucy Blay and Raymond Akpatsa.
Justice Clemence Honyenuga told journalists that the project would help to decongest the various prisons in Ghana and noted that a lot had been achieved since the implementation of the programme in 2007.
He pointed out that in crime control, it is important that due process is followed to avoid abuse of the rights of the accused person.
DDP Nelson Duut, Western Regional Commander of the Ghana Prisons, saw the overcrowding and congestion at the cells as the major challenge.
He bemoaned the fact that so many inmates were in the cells originally designed to contain numbers far lower than what are currently being accommodated.
The ‘Justice for All Project’ is being executed under the auspices of the ‘Access to Justice for Remand Prisoners Project’ in collaboration with the Judicial Service, Attorney General’s Department, Ghana Police Service and Ghana Prisons Service.