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It’s unfair for high-profile criminal cases to drag for years

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has expressed concern over the extended durations of high-profile criminal trials in Ghana.

In a speech at the annual conference of magistrates and judges, Dame urged the judiciary to streamline their processes and eliminate any undue delays or inefficiencies that contribute to the prolonged duration of these cases.

“A robust legal system underpinned by the rule of law goes hand in hand with economic prosperity and bolsters the confidence of the people to deter the perpetration of wrongdoing,” Dame said, adding, “A court system in which summary trials of criminal cases can last for more than five years militates against the right to a fair trial, defeats the right to justice and must be looked at again.”

Dame highlighted the glaring disparity between the time taken to conclude high-profile criminal trials and those involving regular citizens.

He expressed his dismay that cases involving offences like wilfully causing financial loss to the State and money laundering often linger for years, while similar cases concerning ordinary citizens are resolved within six months to a year.

“It is unjust and unfair for so-called high-profile criminal cases involving the offences of fraud and money laundering and willfully causing financial loss to the state to drag on for years while similar cases filed against perceived ordinary members of society are concluded within six months to one year,” he said.