Emile Short Commission expresses regret over delays in criminal prosecutions

The three-member Short Commission, which investigated the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, has noted with regret, the delay in the commencement of criminal investigations leading to possible prosecutions.

In its recommendations, the Commission tagging this as part of other incidental issues identified during the probe said delays by the police to commence criminal investigations into cases such as the Ayawaso West Wuogon saga could compromise available evidence.

‘’This undermines the prospects of achieving successful prosecutions as evidence could be compromised and tampered with, or memories may fade and trace evidence lost due to the impact of loss of time. This omission is directly traceable to the police and the need to commence immediate and publicly verifiable investigation cannot be overemphasized,’’ the Commission’s report read.

It further expressed regret at the failure of the police to prosecute persons who contributed to the violence.

‘’The Commission also notes with regret, the delay in the commencing of criminal investigations after the incident. This has affected the prospect of successful prosecutions as some of the evidence was tampered with, and so compromised at the scene of the crime. This failure may directly impact upon the quality of evidence available for subsequent prosecution.’’

Aside from this observation, the Commission has also called for the situation where victims of crime are asked to pay for the endorsement of medical reports; a situation the Commission said undermines the interest of poor citizens.

‘’The Commission notes demands for payment for endorsement of Police Medical Forms is a widespread practice in Ghana and creates a situation that can undermine the interest of the poor and persons who may not readily have the means when they have to operate within the criminal justice system.’’

By: Rashid Obodai Provencal

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