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General News Thu, 29 May 2003

State Attorneys' strike halts court proceedings

Criminal cases at the High Courts and the Regional Tribunals were on Thursday adjourned indefinitely because State Attorneys were not at court.

State Attorneys of the Attorney -General's Department on Tuesday carried out their threat to withdraw their services to back their demand for payment of arrears of allowances due them since the beginning of the year.

Two persons standing trial for the assassination of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, Paramount Chief of the Dagbon Traditional Area and the trial of six Police Officers in the May Nine Accra Sports Stadium Disaster and other criminal cases at Mr Justice Yaw Appau's Court were adjourned to Wednesday June 4.

All other High Courts and Regional Tribunals were virtually empty and Prison Officers, who had escorted remand prisoners to the courts, had to send them back to custody.

Mr Justice Appau in a comment said: "Ghanaians don't want to work at all. If we don't work hard, Ghana would not be like what we want."

The Judge noted: "In Africa we seem to be joking, that is why some spend time working lotto, while others frequently attend church services expecting that moneys would come from heaven.

"We Judges have our allowances delayed yet we are working."

Mr Justice Appau described the situation as unfortunate and apologised for the inconvenience caused.

The State Attorneys said they would stay away from the courts until their demands were met.

They are demanding the shortfall in fuel, clothing and leave allowances.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney - General, Papa Owusu-Ankomah described the action as "unfortunate".

He said as professionals, they had the responsibility to set good examples adding this was a matter that would be resolved within the Attorney's-General's Department.

Source: gna