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Lawyers, prosecutors, judicial officers blamed for delay in criminal justice delivery

BY MUNTALLA INUSAH | muntalla.inusah@dailyheritage.com.gh

THE CHIEF Justice, Her Ladyship Sophia Akuffo, has said innocent persons have been on the wrong end of justice delivery due to the inability of actors in the criminal justice sector to be time-conscious.

She said none of the various actors in the criminal justice sector can be exempted from this practice of delay and that the investigator, who comes to the court to ask for more time, the prosecutors, the judicial officers and lawyers are all to be blamed for that.

She said every delay on the part of any officer is a punishment to the person at the receiving end, and such a delay had the propensity to occasion negative repercussions for the person.

The CJ made this known when the Punctuality Ghana Foundation called on her to endorse a campaign against lack of punctuality among Ghanaians, especially those who work in the public sector.

“… because somebody, a lawyer or the party, was late and has missed the boat for so long that there is nothing that the law permits the court to do to put the actor back before it and all we have to do is struck it out because we will not even have the competence to deal with it

“For example, the interminable delays that often attend criminal trials and endanger the individual liberties of criminal suspects on remand can be traced directly, in part, to this phenomenon. The various actors in the criminal justice sector who are not immune to this unsavory practice are collectively culpable for this sad state of affairs.

‘Admittedly, punctuality is not an issue only for the public service. It has eaten deep into the very fibre of our nation, but it is safe to assume that the canker is particularly prevalent in the public service. There is enough literature to confirm that, and I am in no doubt that the majority of us gathered here have our own personal experiences to share in this regard.

“Our repugnant and reprehensible attitude towards time must change drastically if the public service is to provide the leadership that is required to drive national development. We seem oblivious of the fact that time is a valuable, non-renewable resource which is irrecoverable when lost. If time is money, then have we paused to reflect for a moment on how much we lose as nation each day as a result of our individual and collective tardiness at the workplace?”

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