Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Godfred Yeboah Dame has said government is putting in measures to eliminate delays in criminal prosecutions in order to expedite delivery of justice.
Responding to the family of slain soldier Major Maxwell Adam Mahama who paid a courtesy call on him following the judgement on the case, Mr Yeboah Dame disclosed that a bill will be passed in Parliament to help eliminate delays in the prosecution.
He intimated that over the years, prosecutions have dragged due to avoidable delays caused by what he described as a faulty jury system.
“The length of time that we took has also resulted in the further amendment of the criminal procedure laws of the country and just two months ago, I was compelled to place before cabinet a bill to reform the criminal justice system of the country to ensure that all the delays that occur in the course of criminal justice delivery will be eliminated and so we are seeking to reform the jury system.
“It is because of the jury system that the trial lasted this long. If you have observed, two years ago, we filed charges of treason against certain citizens of the country, and even though that charge is more serious, it took two years to clear because it did not have the involvement of a jury.”
“I believe the nation has learnt a lot from it. The passage of the vigilantism act even shows our commitment to ensure that vigilantism or any form of mob violence will have no place in Ghana going forward.
“It’s very unfortunate that your son had to sacrifice his life only for us to learn this lesson.
It will lead to the reform of our criminal justice system. Elimination of delays; all the delays attendant with justice delivery.
“The bill that we have before Parliament, which I’m sure will be approved by cabinet on Friday, seeks to not only reform the jury system but eliminate other aspects of our criminal justice system which results in undue delay.
We’re seeking to prohibit the filing of interlocutory appeals in criminal prosecutions, also introduce day to day trial in criminal cases and they cannot adjourn such cases for more than 14 days.
After almost 8 years, a 7-member jury of the Accra High Court delivered a guilty verdict to 12 persons accused of murdering Major Maxwell Adam Mahama on May 29, 2017. They were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Criminal Court 3 presided over by Justice Mariama Owusu.
On her part, mother of slain army Major Maxwell Adam Mahama said the conviction and sentencing of her son’s killers has still not given her the closure she very much desired.
During the meeting with the Attorney-General, Madam Veronica Bamford cautioned the current government and any future government, not to contemplate granting a presidential pardon to any of the killers.
“I hope this never happens to anyone. I have suffered a lot. I don’t know if I will ever recover from this. A son I brought up the right way… he had a gun on him but he didn’t shoot anybody. In case you didn’t know he was the best shot of his intake. He won the award for the best shot.
“My son was a crack shot; he had a gun yet he didn’t kill anybody and I’m thankful to God for that. I’m glad he didn’t have the blood of anyone on his hands.
“It’s in court I got to hear some of the things, most of the things I heard about his death was accidental.
“To the murderers and all the people of Denkyira Obuasi, they approached me to name a street after him and I said why would I want my son’s name to be associated so I said no.
“Any government that will ever come into power and gives them parole will have the blood of my son on their hands,” Madam Veronica Bamford said as she visibly shook with tears.