Accra June 2, GNA- The Attorney-General's Department has directed the Ghana Prison Service to furnish it with the list of remand prisoners whose warrant had expired or have been in remand for long periods to enable it review their cases and take the necessary action. The Department urged the police administration to assist in the exercise by periodically reviewing their dockets to ensure that cases, which involved suspects not brought before the courts are made known to their superiors.
Papa Owusu Ankomah, Minister for Justice and Attorney General gave the directive at the first graduation ceremony for 50 police prosecutors at the Ghana Law School in Accra on Wednesday.
The Police graduands trained for six months were taken through Essentials of the law of evidence, criminal law, criminal procedure and general principles of Ghana law.
Papa Owusu Ankomah noted that there had been complaints of many prisoners being held in prison custody on expired warrants and for long periods without trial.
He reminded police investigators that it was their responsibility to bring suspects to court on fixed dates since the 1992 Constitution enjoins persons charged with criminal offences to be given fair hearing within a reasonable time by the courts.
Papa Owusu Ankomah urged the police administration to make use of their officers who had trained as lawyers to assist in the prosecution of cases.
He said "Indeed the office of the Attorney General will not be averse to appointing such police officers with the requisite expertise, flair, interest and proven ability as special prosecutors for special categories of cases".
Papa Owusu Ankomah underscored the important role police prosecutors had played over the years in the effective administration of justice saying "without police prosecutors, prosecution of criminal offences may have gradually ground to a halt in the district and circuit courts in the country."
"It is therefore important that the collaboration between the Police and the Office of Prosecution at the Attorney-General's Department is deepened to enable the state discharge its duty of prosecuting criminal offences effectively."
Mr George Kingsley Acquah, the Chief Justice thanked the Government for funding the Police Prosecutors Programme and the Career Magistrate Courses but pleaded for continuous support in order to meet challenges facing the administration of justice at the grassroots level.
He appealed to the donor community to come to the aid of the Judiciary by providing books and other relevant logistics for the two programmes. The Chief Justice told the police prosecutors to undertake their work with much honesty, integrity and professionalism adding " remember at all times that you are in court to prosecute and not to persecute."
Mr Acquah announced that Professor Justice A.K.P Kludze, a Supreme Court Judge, has been appointed Director of Career Magistrate Course and Police Prosecution Programme with effect from October 1, this year.
Nana Owusu Nsiah, the Inspector General of Police, noted that the development of Police personnel after graduation from the training schools and colleges had not been the best since most of them do not undergo any re-orientation or further training peculiar to the nature of their work.
He said: "It is to stem this tide that this course, first of its kind in the Legal Department, was organised for 50 Police prosecutors to give them the requisite exposure, self confidence and skills to meet the current democratic dispensation and modern policing". Nana Owusu Nsiah said a lot of resources and time had gone into the Police prosecutors training and the Police administration was not prepared to accommodate anyone who would fail to perform up to standard. He said: "The old attitude where some prosecutors arrive late to court or absent themselves from court should henceforth be a thing of the past".
Nana Owusu Nsiah said the course was an on-going programme and the second phase would begin on July 2, this year.
Mr B. J. daRocha, Chairman of the Police Council, asked the graduands to prove sceptics that they could work very effectively only by studying their cases and the law.
He told them not to "cook" evidence in their cases because they want to secure conviction and advised them to seek guidance from the Attorney General's Department should they face any hardship. Mr daRocha asked them to make sure that justice could be done to all adding "the innocent should not be punished but see to it that those who are guilty do not escape." 02 June 04