The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, questioned the quality of justice delivery in Ghana in light of the lenient handling of the Delta Force, a New Patriotic Party-affiliated group, whose members were at the centre of one of the most notorious cases of political party vigilantism.
Speaking at the Chief Justice’s forum in Kumasi on Monday, the Asantehene referenced the GHc 1,800 fine imposed on members of 13 of the Delta Force members who assaulted the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator after raiding his office.
Eight of the 13 Delta Force members’ compatriots were arrested on suspicion of storming court proceedings and aiding the escape of the 13 from court custody.
But charges were controversially dropped and the eight walked free for what some considered the most heinous crime in the whole saga.
According to the Asantehene, such developments compared to hefty punishments slapped on offenders who commit misdemeanors and petty crimes undermine the confidence of Ghanaians in the quality of the justice delivery system.
“If someone steals a goat and is fined GHc 5,000 and is additionally slapped with a jail term, how can people who invade a courtroom, overpower a security, release suspects and put the lives of a judge and staff in danger, and as their punishment are given a paltry fine of GHc 1,800 and discharged. Has justice been served?”
“If such judgments come from the court, how can you prevent people from questioning the quality of justice delivered by our judges? Unfortunately, it takes only one case or very few cases for the quality of justice that you profess to deliver to be through into the woods.”
The Asantehene thus urged the judiciary to establish benchmarks to redeem the eroded confidence of the public in the legal system.
“I hope and pray that by the end of this forum, such ramification of quality justice will be more meaningfully appreciated so we can all be witnesses for the realization of the vision of quality judges delivering quality justice,” he said.