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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Justice Sector Support Activity leads advocacy on Evidence Act, 1975

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File photo: Gavel

Legal Resources Centre (LRC), implementation lead of USAID, Justice Sector Support Activity, has organised a roundtable discussion on the advocacy for review of the Evidence Act 1975 (NRCD 323) and C.I 87.

The discussion brought together relevant stakeholders to find ways of resolving the inherent conflict in Order 26 rule 4 of C. I 47 and Section 6 of the Evidence Act.

Stakeholders were of the view that the Act when reviewed or repealed would resolve conflicts and ensure speedy trials

Held at the Coconut Groove Hotel, Accra on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, it was chaired by His Lordship Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei of the Court of Appeal.

Justice Adjei, addressing participants, explained the Act was enacted to provide general rules on the provision of evidence in courts of competent jurisdiction.

However, he noted it has over the years posed challenges and resulted in avoidable delays in the justice system.

Justice Adjei indicated some legal practitioners in Ghana have over the years called for a review while others want a complete repeal.

But on his part, he stated there must be a consensus that the Act gets in the way of swift delivery of justice with the discourse sustained for the process to push through.

The Justice of the Court of Appeal noted that though Section 6 of the Evidence Act, 1975 made room for Case Management Conference (CMC) on issues of admissibility there were challenges.

He also noted that Order 26 rule 4 of CI 47 was in conflict with section 6 of the Evidence Act and ought to be resolved by stakeholders through parliamentary approval.

Speaking also at the event, Executive Director of LRC, Daphne Lariba Nabila, explained the discussion forms part of advocacy interventions held over the years for reforms or repeal of relevant pieces of legislation to conform to best practices.

She indicated they are also working with the Ministry of the Interior and the Attorney General’s office towards the speedy passage into law of the Community Service Bill, 2022.

The Bill, when passed into law, seeks to use alternative forms of sentencing offenders for certain categories of offences other than giving them custodial sentences.

Miss Nabila noted the intervention is being implemented in collaboration with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Africa Office, Crime Check Foundation, and Inter-regional Bridge Group with support from USAID.

It monitors the implementation of the Ghana Case Tracking System (CTS), a software established to track criminal cases from its inception to disposal.

CTS, she revealed, is being utilised by six justice sector institutions including the Ghana Police Service, Economic and Organised Crime Office, Judicial Service, Attorney General Office and Ghana Prisons Service.

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