All pending cases shall be automatically rolled over for the duration of the Greater Accra lockdown contrary to the directives by the Chief Justice to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His Lordship Kwesi Anin Yeboah has set aside twenty-eight (28) courts in Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi to prosecute cases that will emanate from lockdown violations due to coronavirus.
Ghana’s Chief Judge through a statement directed all courts within the Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi to adjourn its cases to May and June 2020, noted that the move will safeguard “the critical service rendered by the judiciary during this period as exigencies of the situation demands.
However, the Chief Judge disclosed that the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal will be available to handle urgent cases within this period.
The Country is on the fourth day under a 14-day lockdown which begun on March 30. The partial lockdown was the principal measure announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in an address to the nation on Saturday 28 March 2020.
But a private Legal Practitioner, Lawyer Kweku Yamoah Paintsil reports that contrary to the directives of the Chief Judge, the Court Complex in Accra is totally under lockdown and a lockout.
According to the Managing Solicitor at Paintsil, Paintsil & Co, ‘nobody, including Lawyers, is allowed to go inside by “Order from Above”. Calls to the Registrar of the Criminal Court go through but he doesn’t pick (deliberately)’.
Narrating his ordeal, Lawyer Paintsil said, ‘in the meanwhile, we have a client whose previous bail (having been rescinded) was restored and admitted to his previous bail terms and conditions by the High Court since last week’.
‘Even though the Order was served on the Nsawam Prison authorities, they refuse to release him, claiming that the accused requires to be taken to Court to execute a fresh bail bond’.
However, they are under instructions not to take any inmate to Court.
The Senior Advocate avers that a petition to the Director of Prisons to permit the accused execute a fresh bail bond has characteristically gone unheeded, without even the courtesy of an acknowledgment.
For him, now that the ” whole” Court Complex is closed completely without access to Lawyers and the Registrar refuses to pick his calls. Indeed, no possibility of entering to file any process.
Mr. Paintsil wonders if Human Rights in Ghana is under key and padlock?
‘Quo Vadis Human Rights in Ghana under a period of lockdown’ he lamented?
Are we safe?