Africa-Press – Ghana. Stakeholders in the justice delivery system have called for the review or repeal of Section 6 of the Evidence Act and CI 87 to enhance the speedy adjudication of cases in the country.
The stakeholders contend that the review or repeal of the Act would resolve conflicts and ensure speedy trials. The Evidence Act, which is a substantive Act, takes precedence over the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, CI 47.
Speaking at the round table discussion on advocacy to review the Evidence Act, 1975 and C.I .87 in Accra, Justice Sir Dennis Adjei, a Court of Appeal Judge, said when people go to court, they expect speedy trial as well as disposal of cases within reasonable time.
He noted that if people went to court and it took them a long while before their cases were disposed of, they would not be encouraged to seek redress in court.
Justice Adjei, who is also the Director of Judicial Service Training Institute, noted that Section 6 of the Evidence act had become an albatross on the judges and parties in the case hence the need to review or repeal the same.
He also noted that Order 26 rule 4 of CI 47 was also in conflict with sections 6 of the Evidence Act and ought to be resolved by stakeholders through parliamentary approval.
The Justice of the Court of Appeal noted that Section 6 of the Evidence Act, 1975 made room for Case Management Conference in Cases (CMC) on issues of admissibility but there were challenges
Ms Daphne Lariba Nabila, Executive Director of Legal Resource Centre ( LRC), said over the past two decades, Ghana’s criminal justice system had witnessed considerable progress in justice delivery and Ghana had been adjudged as the seventh best in sub-Saharan Africa in civil justice in 2021.
This notwithstanding, Ms Nabila said there were still systemic and operational hindrances, including low uptake of technology that negatively impacted Ghana’s justice delivery system.
She said the purpose of the roundtable discussion was to bring together key 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.
According to her, it was therefore important to carry out reforms of relevant pieces of legislation to conform to the best practices and ensure speedy adjudication of cases.
Ms Nabilla, who is also the Chief of Party, USAID Justice Support Sector Activity, said the USAID Justice Sector Support Activity had collaborated with both state and non-state institutions, including the Ghana Prisons Service to review the Prisons Service Act.
According to her, the Prisons Service Bill was currently at the Attorney -General’s Office. She said: “We 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.”
She was optimistic that there would be an engendered and sustained discourse on the need to review, amend or repeal Section 6 of the Evidence Act and amendment to CI 87 to enhance speedy adjudication of cases. The USAID Justice Sector Support Activity, a two-year activity, started in August 2020 and ends in July 2022.
The activity is being implemented by Legal Resources Centre (LRC with its sub-awardees being the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Africa office, Crime Check Foundation and Inter-regional Bridge Group with funding support from United States Agency for Information Development (USAID).