COVID-19: Only cases of extreme urgency should be heard – CJ to Judges
The Judicial Service of Ghana has directed Judges and Magistrates to only “hear cases which are of extreme urgency” while exercising great restraint in remanding accused persons to prevent the overcrowding of police cells and prisons.
The directive follows the government’s ban on all public gatherings as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Ghana has so far recorded 6 cases.
In a statement signed by the Chief Justice (CJ), Justice Anin Yeboah on Monday, 16 March 2020, the Judiciary noted that while the courts continue to work, it had put in place the following arrangements: “Courts will practice strict case management techniques such that only parties and witnesses in cases listed to be heard on particular dates would be allowed into the court room to avoid large gatherings.”
The Judges and Magistrates were also directed to endeavour “to adjourn cases to specific times, on given dates to limit the number of people that will be allowed into the court room” and were asked to “only hear cases which are of extreme urgency and as far as possible, exercise great restraint in remanding accused persons, in order to avoid overcrowding the prisons and police cells.”
The CJ also asked Judges and Magistrates to “suspend the hearing of cases involving the movement of convicted and remand prisoners from the prisoners to the court. In criminal appeals the courts should dispense with the appearance of the appellants who are prison custody” while “Sanitizers are being provided for Court users and arrangements are being made to have the Court rooms regularly disinfected.”