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26.06.2005 Crime & Punishment

Long delay causes loss of confidence in judiciary

GNA

Kumasi, June 26, GNA - A youth activist, has stated that reduction or elimination of corruption alone in the Judicial Service is not enough guarantee to restoring confidence in the service, unless such an initiative is backed by prompt handling and disposal of cases. Mr. Odeneho Kwaku Appiah, immediate past president of Youth in Action, grouping youth groups in the Kumasi Metropolis, who made the observation, explained that a lot of people had lost confidence in the law courts, not just because the system had become corrupt, but mainly because of the long period of time it takes for the courts to dispose of cases.

Mr. Appiah made the observation at a forum of the Pankrono Honest Club, a youth development organisation, in Kumasi on Sunday.

He therefore, appealed to the Chief Justice to act in concert with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, to institute a scheme designed at reducing the duration of handling of cases.

Mr. Appiah said even though the fast track courts had been introduced to help solve such problems; they were in adequate, and "also not as prompt and swift at disposal of cases as intended."

He said quite apart from initiating moves at eliminating corruption and shortening the length of time for disposing of cases, Judges should also defy all odds and pressures from the public and "top officials and be bold in always coming out with accurate and right judgements."

Mr. Appiah expressed worry about some media houses turning themselves into avenues for settlement of disputes and hearing of cases, as if they had become law courts.

"Some too turn to serve as police stations where cases are reported," he added.

Mr. Appiah explained that, "this unhealthy state of affairs is because members of the public have lost confidence in the judiciary." Mr. Appiah, however said, no matter how good media houses handle a dispute, settlement of cases was not part of their mission, and they should therefore refer such issues to the appropriate quarters for settlement. June 26 06

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