THE Attorney-General (A-G), Joe Ghartey, has requested the Director of Prisons to provide the list of remand prisoners whose warranty have expired and the names of investigators handling such cases.
A highly placed source at the Attorney-General's Department told the Times yesterday that the move would enable the A-G to know whether the police have complied with a directive to review all expired warrants of remand prisoners.
On October 22, the Attorney-General, in consultation with the Inspector-General of Police, issued a statement directing police investigators “to take steps to immediately review all expired warrants of remand prisoners”.
It said “failure to comply with the directive will result in the Attorney-General's office taking steps to get such accused persons released on bail.”
The source told the Times that the A-G wrote to the Prisons Director on November 5, following the expiry of the directive, which was to be carried out in two weeks.
The A-G had explained in the statement that Section 169 (2) of the Criminal and Other Offence (Procedure) Act 1960, Act 30 as amended by Section 17 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act 2002 (Act 633) provides that “a court shall not adjourn a case for more than 14 days where the accused person is on remand”.
As a result of the remand review project of the Justice-For-All programme initiated by the A-G and the Minister for Justice, it had become obvious that some warrants of the remand prisoners had expired, it said.
The statement said as a result, some remand prisoners had been in prison custody for several months or years without making any appearance.
On Wednesday, September 12, this year, when Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, Minister of the Interior, paid a familiarisation visit to the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons, the inmates attributed congestion in the prison to the denial of their rights to appear before court.
The prisoners alleged that sometimes, even when they were taken to the courts, the police investigators or prosecutors kept them in the court cell without allowing or making them appear before a competent court of jurisdiction to either defend themselves or appeal against the charges preferred against them.
According to the inmates, some of them had been on remand for between five and 10 years without trial and the psychological trauma haunt them.