It was a very pathetic scene at the Ankaful Prison Cape Coast in the Central Region when a man who was accused of manslaughter and put on remands for 35 years was finally set free.
Moro Zuta, it was revealed, had spent the 35 years in four prisons namely Nsawam, Kumasi, Winneba and Ankaful.
This came to light when POS Foundation, a human right organization with the Centre for Law and Development Policy at GIMPA Law School took its 'Access to Justice for Remand Prisoners' programme to Ankaful and Winneba Prisons.
The programme was initiated to reduce remand prisoner's population in the country as well as work around reforms to address the issue in enhancing criminal justice system.
The Access to Justice Project seeks to reduce overcrowding in prisons by setting up special courts to adjudicate remand prisoner cases in prisons throughout the country, with the support of the judiciary, office of the Attorney General, the Ghana Prisons Service and the Ghana Bar Association.
Kuta, is said to be suffering from mental diseases.
When Kuta was asked about the number of children that he has, he disclosed that "I have 200 hundred children made up of 100 girls and 100 boys, a situation which brought tears to the people who were around.
The judge, therefore, discharged him.
In all, three judges; Justice Constance K. Hometowu, Justice Abdullah Iddrisu and Justice C.J. Honyenuga presided over the 56 cases at Ankaful and Winneba Prisons.
Daily Guide observed that 31 cases were held at Winneba, while 25 were held at Ankaful.
Thirty-two remand prisoners were granted bail, 11 were discharged, while 13 had their applications refused, and all the cases held were charges of murder and manslaughter.
Addressing the press after the programme, the Executive Director of POS Foundation disclosed that this year’s project was expanding its scope to cover prisoners in Ashanti, Western and Central regions.
He noted that one-third of Ghana's prison population consist of prisoners who were detained while awaiting trial.
The Executive Director pointed out that reports indicate that 31.5 percent of the prison population is in pretrial status, while detainees serve more time in detention awaiting trail than the actual sentence for the crime requires, a person who is arrested or detained but has not received trial within a reasonable period is entitled to unconditional release or release subject to conditions necessary for reappearance for judicial proceedings.
Source: Daily Guide
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