Persons concerned with justice delivery in the country have been encouraged to be mindful of the “Freedom and Justice” phrase in the National Coat of Arms of Ghana.
Nana Kobena Nketsia V, a renowned Historian and Paramount Chief have therefore cautioned against the use of the Judicial system as a money-making entity without recourse to real justice.
He bemoaned the use of “incomprehensible” languages by lawyers, prosecutors and judges which oftentimes were unfriendly to the supposed “offender ” aside from outmoded laws that he added, “strengthened the arm of the colonial oppressors ” aside congestion in the prisons.
The Paramount Chief, therefore, called for a home-grown judicial system and revised colonial laws to give real meaning to access to quality, and fair trials.
The Chief was speaking during a workshop organised by the “POS Foundation”, an NGO in the Justice Sector for Attorneys and Prosecutors, on the new Act 1019 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act 2020.
The Workshop would expose them to the details of the new laws, their roles and possible drug policy reforms.
Nana Kobena Nketsia V noted how substances such as Indian Hemp had many industrial and medicinal benefits and the need for the country to begin looking at it from an industry point of view.
To Him, the Judicial system must exercise compassionate discretion on problematic drug users….”Our target should be on the pushers who are making fortunes from the illegal trade”.
Mr Akrasi Sarpong, a former Boss of the Commission urged practitioners in the justice delivery system to begin thinking “outside the box” with regards to the arrest and prosecution of users of narcotic drugs.
The drug situation despite being a Regional and World issue, also presented public health, poverty, social security and economic implications and must not be taken for granted.
He encouraged the prosecutors and investigators to always endeavour to do proper interrogation and investigations and use the drug users as bait in apprehending the real dealers”.
Mr Jonathan Osei Owusu, the Executive Director of the POS Foundation said arresting and prosecuting of drug users or problematic substance users was a “criminalization of poverty since the rich always got away with such offences “.
He said the police and to a larger extent, prosecutors were usually the first contact in time of arrest and prosecution of such users, hence the need to ensure that there was proper implementation of the new law within the spirit that was intended.
Ms Patience Klinogo, Western Regional Senior State Attorney described the workshop as a time to create a better understanding of the new laws pertaining to drug use and offences to improve the justice system.