BY MUNTALLA INUSAH | firstname.lastname@example.org
A 28-YEAR-OLD Accounting student who brandished a machete at his 68-year-old mother for which he was in remand for an unspecified period has been discharged unconditionally from the Akuse Local Prisons after spending a month and 11 days in prison.
His release from prison custody came when he remorsefully apologised to the mother and asked for her forgiveness during a Justice for All Programme held at the Akuse Prisons last Friday.
Evans Obessey, a level 200 student of the Zenith University Collage, was in remand at the Akuse Prison after his biological mother, Rose Duku, had reported him to the Atimpoku Police for threat of harm.
But at the Akuse Prisons on Friday during the Justice for All Programme sitting designed to decongest the prisons, Madam Rose Duku, the complainant, shed tears while asking the court to discharge her son.
According to the complainant, she reported the incident to the Atimpoku police because she feared her life was at risk but has now realised that she went far by causing his last born to remanded in the prison.
It was the case of the Obessey that he had been sleeping at a mechanic shop in Accra for years while schooling at the Zenith College.
According to him, the struggles he was going through and the fact that he lost a restaurant job he had been doing to take care of himself and to pay his fees made him to informd the mother to allow him rent out his own room at Akrade, where the family live, to use the money to support himself.
The mother, he said, refused that request and such development frustrated him as a result of which he pulled a machete on mother.
When the matter came up at the Justice for All sitting before the Chairman of Remand Review Taskforce, Justice Clemence Honyenugah, who doubles as a Court of Appeal Judge, Evans knelt before his mother and said, “Mom, I’m sorry, forgive me. It will not happen again. I did that out of frustration, forgive me.”
Obessey, who has deferred his Accounting course at Zenith College, said he realised the repercussion of his action when he was remanded in the prison. He told the court that going forward, he would be law-abiding, show respect to the elderly and the mother at all times.
He also urged his prison mates he was leaving behind and the youth in general to not indulge in way-wardness.
‘I’ve forgiven you’
Madam Duku, 68, a mother of three, who was all tears, pleaded with the court to discharge her son because her intention was not to get him detained in prison.
The trader, moments after the discharge of her son, held the hands of her son who was kneeling before her forgiveness, saying “I have forgiven you. I needed not throw my baby out with the bathwater”, and while the mother was speaking, they hugged each other amidst spontaneous clapping from the all present.
At the end of the sitting, one other inmate, Musa Bari, who had spent seven years on remand for an alleged rape, was discharged while 16 were given bail.
Three applications were refused and two were struck out as withdrawn. The total number of inmates dealt with were 23.
Justice Honyenugah, however, cautioned police investigators to ensure that all remand prisoners who had been granted bail were released per the orders of the court.
“I cautioned them that no one remains in the prisons after they have been granted bail otherwise all that we have been doing will just be in vain. Assuming we grant bail to someone today and the next time we come back and he is still here, then what are you doing? We have wasted time and energy but we hope it doesn’t happened.”
He explained that there were moves to decentralise the exercise in the regions but her Ladyship the Chief Justice was yet to take a final decision on this matter.
A Deputy Director of Prisons, Godwin Hoenyedzi, who is the officer in charge of the prison, said there were 67 remand prisoners out of which 23 had been discharge but “the situation is still bad because there is only one cell for remand prisoners, so when the number starts going up it we become worried.”
He expressed gratitude to the Justice For All programme, saying, “That is why the Justice For All programme had come as a relief for us because the 106-year-old prison was designed to house only 90 inmates, but, the prison has 223 convicted prisoners and 67 remand prisoners.”
About Justice for All
The Justice For All programme, which is facilitated by POS Foundation, is a special in-prison court sitting meant to look into the cases of remand prisoners, and prisoners whose trials are unreasonably delayed.
The programme constitutes a key component of the rule of law, access to justice and the sustained promotion and protection of the human rights of prisoners – both remand prisoners and convicted prisoners, and of course, their handlers, who are officials of the Prisons Service, and, by extension, the families of these persons that I have identified.
Through the initiative, hundreds of prisoners have been freed from jail and saved the government purse.