Hike sentence

Taking of Samson: community penalty; Advocacy for the poor

Some don’t like the idea of ​​allowing a ‘criminal’, especially high profile thieves involved in bribery offences, to simply pay off and walk free. This exemption has existed in Ghana since 1993 in a meager Section 35 of the Courts Act. It allows for compensation and restitution by the accused. You plead guilty; you are found guilty but not sentenced by the Court.

I’ve used it for clients who have admitted wrongdoing by causing economic loss to the state. You only lose your freedom from prison if you do not pay what is agreed between you and the Attorney General in exchange for your freedom.

It’s usually not for certain crimes, including petty crimes often committed by the poor and hungry. It is abhorred in our part of the world especially by the poor because they do not benefit from it, and we seem naturally oriented towards the old testament “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.

We are incurably religious but ruthless. We have a subculture that would have been nurtured by the era of military revolutions, predisposing many to want to work against people who are progressing in life. This is often compared to the default behavior of crabs when emerging from a hole or container. We are talking about the downward pulling trait (PHD) in some people. Yes, so we seem to like to especially hate the rich for no reason and do everything to destroy them.

It’s no surprise that even law enforcement officers have a mob justice mentality. Some of them treat suspects as if they had already been sentenced to suffer in hell by a court.

Yes, people like that the accused is thrown in jail while the victim is left without any compensation or care. This explains why some have raised the hell that some of those on trial for the mess of the banking/financial sector have been or are being allowed to take advantage of this law. Why should defendants or people on trial be given the option to pay the loss plus interest and walk instead of throwing them in jail if they are found guilty at the end of their trial?

In 2018, we passed the law on the law on the office of the prosecutor, the law for the biggest thieves in the public service. The legislator of Article 71 of the OSP Act improved this avenue and for some time gave it its proper name – PLEA BARGAIN. It also allows the state to free a man to lead us to catch his fellow thieves. It could even be used to testify against other thieves or to help foil the planned plunder of our meager resources. He seems to like the saying that trading is not stealing.

Most recently, we have elevated this plea bargain by amending the Criminal and Other Offenses (Procedure) Act 1960 (Act 30) to provide us with a full and comprehensive legal regime on plea bargains. The bill relating to this act provides for plea bargains at any time before judgment is rendered in a case against a person charged with an offense excluding crimes such as treason, genocide, murder, robbery, rape, defilement and kidnapping. Negotiations may result in a reduction of an alleged offense to a lesser offense or a complete withdrawal of the charge.

The accused and the prosecution, authorized by the Attorney General, will enter into an agreement which may recommend to the court the penalty (penalty) or the payment of compensation to the victim or restitution. The judge cannot take part in the negotiations but all interested parties must be consulted. The prosecution must disclose all relevant documents or evidence that it intends to use in the case, not only those against but those in favor of the accused) to give the accused the opportunity to make a decision on whether to exercise the option of a plea bargain.

Now to the point of this article. The Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame and his team are to be commended for preparing the Community Services Bill 2022 (non-custodial sentences). This pro-poor policy deserves to be adopted more quickly. The 2018 bill does not appear to have reached Parliament. Regardless of the fact that since 2004, the CDD has taken the lead and the State has accepted this path, there is urgency, among other things, to remedy the terrible congestion and the unacceptable prison conditions.

President John Kufuor’s Attorney General, the Department of the Interior, the Judiciary and all relevant stakeholders agreed to and attended the meetings, and set goals and timelines to implement a non-custodial sentencing regime . Seth Kwame Boateng’s investigative documentaries, including “Locked and Forgotten”, which had rare access to take television cameras into prisons, have revived the topic.

Home Secretary Mark Woyongo appears to have put stakeholders back to work on this issue while Chief Justice Georgina Wood has stepped up the Justice for All program to decongest prisons. It is therefore embarrassing that this has not been done. Let the genuine heart that prompts his awakening now push him faster because it doesn’t make sense to imprison the man who stole a bunch of plantains to feed his family because he can’t afford a fine, however small, while the wealthy man who robbed an entire village of a vital hospital or school to allow future rulers to walk free.

There is no debate that community service, as an alternative means of punishing wrongful or criminal conduct, is the best and most humane approach to punishing while reforming those who commit minor offenses, including first time offenders.

And this is my take.

Samson Lardy ANYENINI

July 9, 2022