More people will own guns, & mistrust the criminal system over unresolved murder cases- Criminologist

A criminologist and lecturer, Dr. Jones Opoku-Ware has warned that several unresolved murder cases in Ghana could lead to mistrust in the system, and an increase in the ownership of arms, among other insecurity issues.

He explained that it is unfortunate that several murder cases have not been resolved, and as a country and citizens we have to be sad and find ways to resolve the issue.

He said there are several challenges confronting us and affecting how we deal with murder cases in Ghana.

Speaking on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said the criminal justice system does not only lie with the police but takes a collaborative effort with the judiciary, and the Attorney General’s Office, among other institutions.

The lecturer stated that if the Police finish their investigations and the system is slow in prosecuting the matter, it would amount to nothing.

He said the court system sometimes delays cases leading the frustration.

These factors, he lamented, contribute to mistrust and pain, especially for persons who had their relatives killed.

Dr. Jones Opoku-Ware averred that ”it is so sad that we have not been able to resolve several murder cases as a country and get the culprits prosecuted. As far as 2012, we recorded over 500 murder cases, in 2013, we also recorded over 500 cases, and in 2014, we recorded over 543 cases, and these cases could include that of JB Danquah Adu and Fennec Okyere.

When you single out Fennec Okyere’s case, you will realise that there was no way the Police did not gather evidence at the crime scene because the analysis done at the scene gave the Police a clue, and so I am wondering why the murder has not been resolved,” he told host Kwabena Agyapong.

He added that the justice system has a way of frustrating people and helping people get justice.

”When you have a system like that, what it means is that nobody is safe, because anybody can pick any weapon, quarrel with you or do anything with you and get you killed and in the end, you the victim and your family will not get justice.”

He stressed that we should not blame only the Police because the criminal justice system is a network, and we have to identify where the challenge is and resolve it.

”It is said that the justice system does not value human life. But Ghanaians could also be blamed since we always say we have to give everything to God without necessarily probing to establish what might have killed the person involved. Human life is very important, and we have to preserve it. We have to e serious as a country,” he added.

He said although he would not advise people to arm themselves, several individuals are doing so ”although we have not gotten to the point where everyone should harm themselves.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t advise people to ar,m themselves. But when we live in a system where people are scared, and have several unresolved murder cases, people will try to protect themselves. When issues of this come, the Police must rise to the occasion. I have the belief in the Police that when we provide them with the needed logistics and stop the political interference, they will work efficiently.”

He also asked the A-G’s Office and the judicial system to put a value on the life of the people and prioritize these murder cases and resolve them.

”If we don’t do that, it will lead to mistrust, and we will have people who will arm themselves. Once people feel they are not secure and safe, they will arm themselves. I don’t think we want to get to that point. Already we are dealing with illegal possession of arms in the possession of people, and so we need to resolve these challenges.”


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