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Crime & Punishment Wed, 13 Oct 2004

Expedite action on cases - AG's Department urged

Asamankese, Oct. 13, GNA - A Circuit Court Judge has called on the Attorney-General's (AG) Department to expedite action on cases referred to the Department for advice to avoid undue delays in court cases. Mr S. S. Appiah, Judge of the Asamankese Circuit Court, said in spite of the fact that the Department lacked the adequate number of staff to deal with the increasing number of cases, "at least some of them could be dealt with more expeditiously".

The Judge made the call when a case involving a Police Constable, Alhassan Mohammed, charged with causing the death of one Ampem Darko through unlawful means, in 2000 was called for hearing. Alhassan had so far made over 40 appearances but whenever the case was called the prosecution would announce that they were still expecting advice from the AG's Office.

Mr Appiah asked the prosecution to contact the Eastern Regional Police Commander to get in touch with the office of the AG's Department in Koforidua to expedite action on the case since it should be treated as a "special case."

The Judge noted that since 2000, the Constable had been on interdiction and said the accused had to know his fate, especially since he was performing lawful guard duties at a bank when the incident happened.

The prosecution at the start of the trial told the court that Alhassan was on guard duty at the Kwaebibirem Rural Bank at Asuom on August 2, 2000 when the incident happened.

The court was told that at about 7.00 p.m., Ampem Darko, went to the Bank premises and rained abusive words on the Policeman, calling him "too known and a stupid policeman".

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Alhassan replied leading to a quarrel and a confrontation during which the deceased attempted to seize the AK 47 rifle the Policeman was wielding.

In the struggle, Ampem Darko fell flat on his back on the concrete floor unconscious and was rushed and admitted at the Asuom Health Centre.

He was transferred to the St. Dominic's Hospital, Akwatia on August 4, 2000 and died the following day when his condition deteriorated. The Prosecution said after thorough investigations, a duplicate docket was forwarded to the office of the AG's Department in Koforidua for advice but after about a year the AG's Department advised that the accused should be charged with manslaughter.

The Department further directed that the docket should be re-submitted for the preparation of the Bill of Indictment and summary of evidence.

The Prosecution stated that when the docket went back to Koforidua over three years ago, nothing had since been heard from the Department.

Source: GNA
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