Crime & Punishment Sun, 1 Aug 2021

Legal practitioner warns against paying illegal bailing fees; blames police for status quo

A Private Legal Practitioner, K.B Acheampong has advised some vagrants in the Effutu Municipality against the payment of monies to the police before getting bail.

According to Mr. K.B Acheampong who is also the Municipal Coordinating Director, the Police usually take advantage of the vulnerability of suspects and their relatives by demanding money from them before granting bail.

“The police know you have a case and are desperate to get justice and because a lot of people don’t know the law, they fall victim. The Bible say for lack of knowledge many people will perish and so the police will make you perish at the police station if you don’t know your rights and the laws,” he said.

“We’re teaching these basic things; be firm and stand for your rights and stand against this normalized illegality.” he added.

The Effutu Municipal Coordinating Director was educating vagrants on their basic human rights and responsibilities on the sideline of a project dubbed “Decriminalizing Vagrancy and Advocacy (DVLA) in Winneba.

Mr Acheampong also lamented over the absence of a Legal Aid Department at the assembly stating there are many suspects who can’t afford to pay lawyers to defend them in court and are currently on remand for years.

“There are some cases, if you don’t have a lawyer, a court judge will never hear the case; it is the Attorney General’s responsibility to get such suspects lawyers. Some lawyers register at the Legal Aid and offer their services but they never get paid that is the reason most of them have stopped,” Mr Acheampong added.

The one-year project is being implemented by Crime Check Foundation and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

With the #StopCriminalisingPoverty, the two organizations are sensitizing vagrants on bye-laws of Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) while advocating for the enactment of a community service law for petty offenders.
Source: Sefakor Fekpe, Contributor
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