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04.07.2005 Crime & Punishment

Police prosecutors advise to accept responsibility for delay of cases


Kumasi, July 4, GNA - Mr J. Ayikoi Otoo, Minister of Justice and Attorney General on Monday advised Police prosecutors to be bold to accept responsibility for delay in trial of cases instead of shifting the blame to the Attorney General's Department.

He said the excuse by the prosecutors that such cases had been referred to his office for advice was most often misleading, describing the practice as unprofessional.

Mr Otoo gave the advice when he opened a four-day training course for police prosecutors in Kumasi on Monday on the conduct of criminal prosecution, human rights and the administration of criminal justice in Ghana.

It was jointly organised by the Faculty of Law of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in collaboration the Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom (UK) for 100 police prosecutors from Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo.

The course was designed to build the capacity and efficiency of the prosecutors in the area of handling criminal cases, international instruments on gender issues, ballistic analysis, forensic science in crime detection, among others.

Mr Otoo observed: "There may be no such referral cases yet some of the police prosecutors who are unwilling to prosecute use such lame excuse to discourage the complainants and put the Attorney General's Department in such bad light in the eyes of the public". The Minister was also not happy that in some instances the prosecutors were transferred from their stations in the middle of the cases or on peace missions.

He called for the discouragement of such practices as they often resulted in delay in the disposition of cases thereby negatively impacting on justice, as "justice delayed is justice denied". Professor Kwesi Andam, Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, stated that it was clear that literacy alone could not ensure good or professional performance from the police and that they needed to be introduce to the democratic culture as it related to the performance of their duties. He said even though civil governance was the pre-occupation of the police, many people had complained about the police not doing enough to ensure proper civil and democratic governance.

Rev Professor Ofori Amankwaah, Dean of the Faculty of Law, reminded the police prosecutors not just to put the skills they might acquire at the course into practice at their stations but to also share such skills with their other colleagues.