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Your sentences are ‘overly harsh’ – CJ tells lower court judges

Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo

Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo says sentences handed down by some lower court judges to persons found guilty of various crimes across the country are either lenient or overly harsh, and not in tandem with judicial guidelines.

The chief justice in an internal memo sighted by 3news.com complained about the increasing practice among magistrates and other lower court judges, indicating that these sentences usually do not commensurate with the crimes committed.

“Increasingly, I am receiving reports of sentences being passed by magistrates and judges, which are not in line with sentencing guidelines,” she said in the March 12-memo addressed to all supervisory High Court judges.

“Some of these [sentences] are either too lenient or overly harsh and out of proportion to the offence,” she added.

To prevent further errors in law, the CJ has directed the supervisory High Court judges to take up the matter and ensure that the practice is nipped in the bud.

“For this reason and in order to maintain public confidence in the justice delivery system, I charge you to take up the following duties in respect of judges and magistrates under your supervision,” Ms Akuffo stated in the memo.

In that regard, the supervisors are to monitor on monthly basis, sentences handed down by judges at the lower courts to ensure “they are reasonable as well as responsive the need for discouraging impunity, galamsey and lawlessness”.

They are also to certify all monthly returns of magistrates and judges of the lower courts and track all remands.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

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