22.06.2005 Crime & Punishment

Judiciary asked not to remand people who plead not guilty

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Gomoa Dawurampong (C/R), June 22 - The Judiciary has been urged not to remand people who plead not guilty when they appear before the courts. Participants at a forum held at Gomoa Dawurampong in the Central Region described the remanding of people who pleaded not guilty as "transverse of justice". They noted that for the fear of going on remand many people who were innocent about the charges levelled against them were compelled to plead guilty and are sentenced on their own plea. This situation has thrown many innocent people into jail, they stated and appealed to the Chief Justice and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to address the problem.

The forum was organised by the Legal Outreach Programmes (LOPs), a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) to educate the public on legal issues in collaboration with the Gomoa District Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).

Mr George Loh, Executive Member of the organisation appealed to the public to help in enforcing the laws of the state, adding that, "if the people remain unconcerned deviants would make the society unsafe to live in". "After all these criminals are living among us, we know them but do not want to expose them for the law to take its course", Mr Loh said. "The laws will not be effective if we do not want to help the enforcing agents", he added.

Mr Alexander Graham, also an executive member of the NGO said the 1992 Constitution recognised adjudication of by-laws enacted by traditional authorities and advised the public to respect laws. Another member of the organisation, Mr Gad Motey, pointed out that it was not correct that the enforcement of the laws on the Rights of the Child was breeding indiscipline in the society. He said that none of the Child Rights law encouraged children to be rude to their parents and elders.

Mr Isaac Sam, District NCCE Director commended LOP for the initiative to make the public aware of legal matters, which worried people especially those living in rural areas where legal services were difficult to obtain.

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