Your Most Reliable and Dependable Source

Our Flawed Justice System

Our justice system, without any doubt, is fundamentally flawed; it is chock full of deficiencies which run the gamut from tardiness to inequity.

A colonial legacy, inherited from the British, the system is undeniably corrupt and excruciatingly slow in dispensing justice.

Shamefully, it is given to treating those close to the corridors of power, the rich and the politically connected with unparalleled tenderness while subjecting poor Ghanaians to harsh and long prison terms.

With all its inherent weaknesses, the hope was that the justice system would have been tweaked, that is, given a complete make-over by our lawmakers and be turned into a legal mechanism that will serve the needs of ordinary Ghanaians by protecting their fundamental rights.

Unfortunately, however, our lawmakers have not risen to the occasion. They have allowed the status quo to remain unchanged, the justice system to continue on its current trajectory and ill serving their constituents in the process.

What galls me and I believe, offends other Ghanaians as well is the fact that our justice system deliberately turns a blind eye to political interference.

High profile cases with political overtones are intentionally prolonged until Ghanaians lose interest and the cases are invariably resolved in favor of the politically connected.

The Woyome judgment debt case is a prime example. The guy undeservedly benefited from a suspicious payment, yet the trial has taken years. The reason? Political interference.

Then the vexing case of the Delta Force barging into a Kumasi High Court and terrorizing judges and workers comes to mind. Someone higher up interceded on their behalf and as a result they weren’t punished, they got off scot-free.

Other examples of egregious political interference in our justice system are the cases of the killer of the member of parliament for Kibi and the murderers of the young army captain.

The suspects are still in the court system which is taking its sweet time to either find them guilty or innocent. Why has it taken so long for the system to pass judgment on the suspects? Political interference.

Meanwhile poor Ghanaians, those without wealth or political connections who commit offences don’t stand a chance in the court system. They are swiftly put before judges who don’t hesitate to bring the heavy hammer of the law down on them.

Take the case of the 55-year old man in Savelugu who last week sexually assaulted a 15-year old girl. He was apprehended and quickly put before the Tamale High Court and sentenced to 15 years. Talk about a lightening quick trial.

Yes, the man was despicable and deserved the long prison term for stealing the young girl’s innocence. But the quick trial raised some pertinent questions. The man was reported to have entered his own plea, but was he advised of his rights as guaranteed by the constitution?

From all indications, he could not afford a pricey lawyer; he sure did not look like someone with huge financial reserves. Did the court provide him with a pro bono lawyer from legal aid? Of course not.

But if it was a Chinese plunderer of our natural resources she would have been  granted bail, courtesy of an intervention by a rich Tamale lawyer and she would have traveled out of the country without notifying authorities. And, of course, the case would have taken a longer time to come to trial.

These are the harsh realities imbedded in our justice system. It is skewered towards the rich and powerful and no one worth his or her salt can deny it. A fair justice system is an integral part of democracy. We can’t continue proclaiming to the world that we are a democracy when our justice system is vastly unfair to a huge segment of the population.



Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.