Hakeem A. Tahiru: The primary function of criminal law is to maintain peace, orderliness and sanity in society by upholding the most essential values, and virtues of the relevant society, sacrosanct and inviolable. To achieve this quite essential purpose, criminal laws are generally designed to punish transgressors for violating the values and virtues we all ascribed to keep sacred whilst rewarding those who uphold the tenets of such collectively fashioned normative vows. The essence of punishment is to achieve recompense for those who suffer injury and to deter the perpetrator(s) of crime and potential transgressors of the law, from further legal infractions. A society wherein crime blossoms and flourish, is simply a manifestation of a dysfunctional criminal justice systems.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Tonight, Monday, 6th July 2020, at 8:00pm prompt, the Social Media Monk, Readers Hub, is honoured to host an astute and consummate criminal law lawyer and the Principal State Attorney and Head of the Department for Upper West Region, Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur (popularly known as Lawyer Hammer),* and with his immense professional knowledge and experience in Ghana’s criminal justice system, we seek to dissect the Ghanaian Criminal Justice System to surgically examine its fitness for purpose.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: My name is Hakeem A. Tahiru. I am accorded the singular honour to moderate the discussion tonight. I humbly entreat and encourage Readers to actively participate in the discussion.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Good evening honourable Readers.
Prosper Nifaa TRH: Good evening
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Thanks for the response. As I know someone is already here with us.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Good evening Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur and welcome today’s discussion. Readers are yearning to hear from you.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Good evening. It’s a rare privilege to be here.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: We are honoured to have you tonight.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Dear all, I’m not very quick in typing. So, I might in the course of the discussion make mistakes by way of omissions. So, take your victim as you find him (smiles).
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Counsel, we are here for the substance and that is the main objective. Your message applies to me too.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: This the smile I admire so much.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: I tried to smile that but to no avail.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: When I see the smile, I tell myself all shall be well with me.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: it is so authentic and original. It comes straight from your heart.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: I told you earlier that I’m very loud and I smile a lot. I was asked whether I get angry at all.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: I will also try not to be very technical with terms.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: You will never grow old. The medical doctors can attest to that.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: That is good for our audience.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: With your consent, I will like us to get started, sir.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: For a start, which state institutions comprise the criminal justice systems and how do they operate and interact to administer criminal justice in Ghana?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The courts, prosecutors, investigators and defense Counsel are the main actors in the theatre of criminal justice. The prosecutors include; Officers of Attorney General and police. The investigators are mainly police.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Officers at EOCO, FIC may also be investigators and prosecutors.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Ok that is good know.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The Attorney General has delegated some powers to a number of institutions to prosecute crimes I.e. VRA, Forestry Commission, SSNIT et al
Hakeem A. Tahiru: these are devolved prosecutorial powers!
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: It’s important to note that Article 88(3) put Criminal prosecution solely in the hands of the Attorney General (AG).
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Surely there can’t be prosecution of crime in Ghana without the authority of AG.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Good point to note!
Hakeem A. Tahiru: I am not moderating now. I am now a student, learning a lot already.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Thanks, Counsel, for the very comprehensive answer to the question.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: The next question follows; they are two main types of legal systems in the world, thus, civil law and common law, despite albeit the existence of mixed/hybridized legal systems. What is the difference between the two legal systems? Is Ghana’s legal system suitable for the current criminal justice system?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: As a general rule the law making under the Common law jurisdiction is exclusively preserved for the judiciary and executive whilst the civil law jurisdiction laws generally are made by the legislature and codified.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: In recent times the distinctions are blurred.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: It means, in the civil law jurisdiction, the legislature is not the primary source of law. That is right, sir?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The judge merely establishes the facts of a case and apply remedies found in the codified law.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Ghana is supposed to be a common law country but the judiciary especially the Supreme Court has the power to strike down laws it deem unconstitutional but a purely civil law situation it’s a job for the legislature (exclusively).
Hakeem A. Tahiru: good point to note!
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: It means Ghana somehow blends the two.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Precedence is also a common feature of common law. This is where judges rely on previous decisions to determine a matter.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: This implies Ghana’s legal system has the features of both common law and civil law?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Exactly. In purely Civil law tradition if a person is dissatisfied with a law they have to appeal to parliament or the legislature but under the common law you could challenge that law in court.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Ok this is one of the key differences between the two.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Surely.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Classical examples of civil law countries are France and Germany.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Us Ghana’s mixed legal system suitable for our criminal justice system?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Almost all the commonwealth countries gravitate towards common law.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Is Ghana’s mixed legal system suitable for our criminal justice system?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: This is what we have so far but it has some lapses
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Ok good.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: The next question for you, Counsel
On what legal grounds can someone be regarded as a criminal or considered to be culpable of a crime in a competent court of law?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: ‘‘LAWS ARE SPIDER WEBS THROUGH WHICH THE BIG FLIES PASS AND THE LITTLE ONES GET CAUGHT….’’ Honore de Balzac. The starting point for any discussion in the criminal justice system ought to be Article 19 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. We have what is commonly referred to as the fair trial rules. What constitute a crime is a matter of law.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: An act may be wrong, immoral, and unconscionable but may not constitute a crime. I.e. if one decides to go have an affair with another’s wife in her matrimonial home, insofar as there’s consent it’s not criminal.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: This is aphoristic!
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: NO PERSON SHALL BE CONVICTED OF A CRIMINAL OFFENCE UNLESS THE OFFENCE IS DEFINED AND THE PENALTY FOR IT PRESCRIBED IN A WRITTEN LAW (Article 19(11) of the 1992 constitution).
Hakeem A. Tahiru: great insight!
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: When a court of competent jurisdiction try a person and find him guilty of the offense. The trial must be public unless there’s a special reason not to make it public. The accused person must be made aware of his charges and be given opportunity to defend himself either with the help of counsel or by himself.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Succinct!
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Undoubtedly, some crimes are more grievous than others. May you please outline for us, the categories to which crimes are classified?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The Criminal Offences Act 1960, Act 29 is the basic tool for every lawyer but it doesn’t contain even half of our criminal offences.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Generally, there are two broad categories: Felonies and Misdemeanors.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: I see! Thought-provoking!
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: We have first degree and second-degree felonies
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Misdemeanors are just misdemeanors.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The law categorizes them as such. The severity of the crime informs the distinction.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Felony is a very heinous crime, right?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Felonies range from Murder, rape, defilement, causing harm with offensive weapons, threat of death, robbery etc.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: They’re very serious crimes.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: That brings us to the next question, sir
Is it possible that two people can be proven to be guilty of committing the same crime, but accorded different verdicts by the same judge in the court of law?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Yes sir. There are a number of factors that are taken into consideration. Age, station in life, the injury to the victim, the attitude of society, the prevalence of that crime in that particular area.
The revulsion of society.
The prevalence of that crime.
The premeditated nature of the offence.
The implements used are some of the factors the courts take into consideration
Hakeem A. Tahiru: I will write these points somewhere for my reference. Very important points.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Let us say for the purposes of this present discussion if one steal a motor Bike in Wa the punishment might be different from the same crime in Kumasi. Stealing of motorbike is a canker in Wa that require tougher punishment to send a signal to the society.
I have two recent cases of Murder. In both cases the suspects shot their victims and proceeded to decapitate them. One was a crime of passion and the other was in defense of his property.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: The public may not understand this. Many will conclude that the judge took a bribe in one of the verdicts, especially one in which the verdict appears to be lenient.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Exactly. Defense counsel also plays a vital role. If the convict has a child and a wife with an infirm grandparent the court will not be eager to impose certain punishments if they’re brought to the notice of the court.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Some lawyers have perfected the art of putting a plea in mitigation.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Exquisite!
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: There’s also a very important factor. I as a prosecutor will not push for the roof if the accused person throws in the towel early enough. If I go full hog I will insist on my pound of flesh.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: A plea of guilty simpliciter is enough mitigating factor
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Ok pleading guilty to a charge early is enough could lessen the gravity of the punishment! Point well made!
Hakeem A. Tahiru: What is your view about how white-collar crimes are adjudicated in Ghana’s Criminal Justice Systems?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: It’s difficult to prosecute because it’s mostly a web consisting of numerous conspirators.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The evidence is mostly sophisticated and technical. They require highly qualified personnel to unravel the puzzle.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: We are always in a hurry to make a statement. We hardly take our time to do thorough investigations. The white-collar criminals are mostly very sophisticated and they often act in a group. So sometimes you’ve everyone in a group trying to protect the boss.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Most of the investigators at CID are not sufficiently trained to take on criminal activities which require forensic investigation.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: I’m trying to prosecute one but the evidence is so porous that I have directed the police to follow some lines of inquiries.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Can we categorised such crimes as organised crimes, and if so, has EOCO got the expertise and capacity to investigate and prosecute such crimes?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Yes sir. The recruitment into EOCO is different from police. You have experts at EOCO in all fields. They do a better job investigating white collar crime. BNI also has the men to unlock white collar crime. However, they all have a weakness in taking statements from the suspects.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Cogent point! We will come to the issue of poor evidence gathering soon.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Counsel, from your wealth of experience and knowledge in administration of criminal justice, what do you think or have noticed to be the catalysts and undercurrents for criminal intent, and conduct? Is criminality a genetic or a social construct or both?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: As for genetics and crime I doubt if there’s a relationship. The only thing I know is the environment or what you referred to as social construct. Of course, a criminal father who is good at his trade and quite unabashedly about it is more likely to influence his children attitude towards crime. The genetics theory will fail to explain the conduct of the architect son of Pablo Escobar who is living peacefully in Argentina. He surrendered most of the property to criminal gangs and stayed out of crime. There are parents who make it a point to keep the kids from crime. I think the environment / social construct is the be all and end all of crime.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Wisdom is raining in here!
Hakeem A. Tahiru: There are perceptions and beliefs that some families have too many criminals.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Yes, if one grows up in an environment where crime pays, its glorified and applauded its more likely that everyone will join the fray. It has more do with the environment. If you pull out a kid from this environment, you could train him to be anything.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Awesome! According to Counsel, crime is not naturally embedded in anyone’s DNA.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: A friend once said that if we train our kids in folklore that portrays Ananse as a hero knowing too well that he dabbles in subterfuge our children will grow up with the end justifies the means as a principle of life.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Readers may send your questions for our Guest to me privately. I will try to relay them here for his insightful response. Thanks
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: We would’ve successfully taught the incoming generation that they could deploy every tactic to win.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Apparently
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Aziz
Please ask my son that if an armed robber breaks into your home and you manage to disarm him. Can you kill him and plead self-defense?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: If In the process of disarming him you kill him that is an absolute defense but if you kill him after disarming him, that is revenge and the law doesn’t accept revenge. If there’s enough evidence we will come after you.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: However, you can’t be compelled to give evidence in your own defense. So, it will be a tough one for the prosecution.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: There are people who hold the view that the criminal justice system is the wrong system to fight crime because, those who are mandated to fight crime and those who commit crimes, belong to the same enterprise. In their view, the relevance, eminence and continuity of the jobs of the police officer, the criminal lawyer/prosecutor, the judge and the prison officer, all depend on the prevalence of crime and presence of criminals, such that a crime-free society will not need the services these professionals. Do you consider this argument as tenable?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: I’m sorry to say that the vocational training in prison is a mockery of rehabilitation. The last place to rehabilitate anyone is Ghana’s prison. They’re dungeons of punishment. Recidivism is traceable to the lack of reformation or rehabilitation. The prison in Ghana only train them in prison and more daring ways of beating the justice system. Some of the recidivist are more comfortable in prison than any other place.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Bassing.A.M.A.Kamal
Crime is on the ascendency in Ghana and prisons are becoming overcrowded. Vocational training is the main method by which Ghanaian prisons seek to reform offenders and put this trend in check, yet recidivism is on the increase in our prisons after inmates have gone through the various rehabilitation programs.
- What do you think we are not doing right?
- What do you think accounts for the increase in crime rate in the country, the prosecutions notwithstanding?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The birds of a further principle cannot be ruled out completely. I have seen first-hand some actors who held our doors ajar for the thieves to enter the house, whose primary duty was to all intents and purposes to keep the door shut.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: This is the answer to Bassing Kamal’s question
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The security man watches over/orchestrate the stealing of our tilapia.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Its however not entirely true and applicable because the new institution in whose hands the duty will be put will soon become an actor.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Oswald Dachaga
Hakeem A. Tahiru: What is counsel’s view on the need to aggressively embrace IT in our legal system and to what extent that’s he think legal practitioners and judicial system is ready to reform and take advantage of technology in the administration of legal services in Ghana?
Hakeem A. Tahiru: There is a general perception that the justice system of Ghana favours the elite and rich in society: commit a crime, get a good lawyer and you will walk free while the one who steals a hen because he might be genuinely hungry goes to jail for several years. What’s your opinion on this?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: This perception is not without strong basis. I agree entirely. To get a good defense counsel you need money. The fowl is only struggling to improve his protein needs (smiles).
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Sometimes I feel so bad about it.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Bassing Kamal
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The system is already being rolled under the auspices of UNDP. We have undergone a series of training. But for covid-19 you could monitor my office and track every case from anywhere in the world.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: 3.Is it possible to have a society without crime?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: May be in heaven
Hakeem A. Tahiru: (smiles) I concur, sir
Hakeem A. Tahiru: During your presentation on the Social Convo personality profile discussion, Readers Hub, moderated by Mr. Haadi Bachang, the moderator posed a question on the legitimacy of provisions in the Executive Instrument (E.I.164 (No. 10)) on COVID-19 which criminalize the failure by any Ghanaian to wear face-mask, and in your response, you made a very profound lamentation. Your humble response was “I think my little knowledge on criminal law will not allow me to accept a law like that. How can you punish anyone for not having a bank account? You must, first of all, provide such a person with money and punish him if he fails to open a bank account. It’s a knee jerked legislation. It’s an elitist response to a serious problem. Have you thought of those who cannot afford a nose mask? Poverty cannot be criminalized”. “a person who fails to comply with a restriction imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection (1) of section 2 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one thousand penalty units and not more than five thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than four years and not more than ten years or to both”. Do you think legal instruments such as such as the E.I. 164 (No.10) and the Act 1012, depict the nature of some of the laws that the criminal justice system in Ghana deploys in fighting crime and if so, do you think such laws are admissible, enforceable and justiciable in the court of law? Do you think such laws are unjust and must be repealed or revised?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Crime consist of two things the act and the intention. Nothing is criminal unless the act is backed by the intention. This is trite learning. The question I want to ask is “if we charge a person with breach of the law to failing to wear and he put up a defense my lord I cannot buy a mask. As I stand in this dock I haven’t eaten.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: If you fine him he can’t pay.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: hmm!
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Do you think legal instruments such as such as the E.I. 164 (No.10) and the Act 1012, depict the nature of some of the laws that the criminal justice system in Ghana deploys in fighting crime and if so, do you think such laws are admissible, enforceable and justiciable in the court of law? Do you think such laws are unjust and must be repealed or revised?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: We are not in normal times but it’s not an excuse for knee jerked reactions. They are not thought through. The law doesn’t work in vain. Can we reasonably prosecute the breaches?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: I don’t know any judge in good conscience who will convict a person just because he is poor and can’t buy a mask.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Of course, some critical thinking on the enforceability of the law must always precede its promulgation
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Excellent. Bingo. If not we will be acting in vain.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Danaa Samad
How has his office helped in checking crime rate in the Upper west region? What has been the fall outs and frustrations and what will to be completely successful in the fight against crime in the region?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Yes, we have helped. In the last 3 years I have knocked out over 30 bad guys. We have done our best to prevent people from selling crime but there are numerous challenges.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Fighting crime is a perpetual struggle. As you stated earlier, we can have crime-free society only in heaven. Congratulations, Counsel, for eliminating those 30 bad guys.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: In the course of your response to a question in the same Social Convo session, you bemoaned unevenness of our in the adjudication of criminal cases in the Ghanaian courts. You emphatically grieved that “increasingly the work is becoming so difficult because it’s not uncommon these days to see the big bad guys walk away whilst the small fishes get caught”. Do you think our criminal justice system is a replica of the famous George Owell’s “Animal Farm” allegory?
Hakeem A. Tahiru: We are waiting for Counsel’s response. I guess his device battery is down or he is taking little break.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Some stubborn person called and stayed on the line I’m sorry.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: No apologies, sir
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: There’s no hiding the fact that the system favors the rich more. It might not be deliberate because it is pretty much your job to get a good defense counsel and this cost a lot of money. The legal aid scheme is starting to kick and I hope soon it will come on stream. Until now lawyers were not prepared to join the scheme. On the whole it’s a rich man’s world.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: @Samad on the second leg of your question there are plethora of challenges chief among them is the very nature of our people. Everyone will do everything to get their relatives out of trouble even though they may be bad guys.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: This is a good reason why the Ghana School of Law needs to train more lawyers
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Yes, the AG alone can absolve more than half of the lawyers that come out of law school. In Kenya there are no police prosecutors. Every prosecutor is a lawyer.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Prosper
I am from the Upper West Region and a product of UDS. I bear testimony to the impact of UDS Wa campus to the region as a whole and Wa in particular. Unfortunately, armed robbery cases have been on the ascendancy and most of them are targeted at students. This has sent very bad signals out there and people fear for their safety hence refusal to come to school here.
My question is, as the Principal Attorney, reports are rife about the meddling of “Big men” in such cases which make culprits go scot-free and this is always hinged on the infamous mantra “te gyaa boyeni”. I know you mean well for this region, what can you do with your office to abate this??
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Good to know!
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Read my lips no bad guy has ever walked under my watch especially those who commit crimes that destroy our image (upper west). The unfortunate thing is that some of the criminals are also students. No Big man will venture into robbery cases. The criminal parents are the ones who try to influence the system. There was this case from UDS that moved me to tears. A student almost had his hand cut off by a recidivist. He is now serving 30 years.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: criminals!!!
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: At the police level if our attention is not drawn to a matter sometimes it can be problematic.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Absolutely
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: I tried a level 400 Bcom student and got him convicted for stealing. The current leadership of the police in the region is the best in a long time so we are getting results.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: As part of the Ghana’s resolve to combat corruption and white-collar crimes, the Whistleblower Act was enacted in 2006 (Act 720) and Section 12 of the Act provides for the protection of the whistleblower from any acts of harassment, victimisation, and intimidation by the employer, the perpetrator or co-workers. Despite this act is in force, civil/public servants are not blowing the whistle. Why are people afraid to blow the whistle? Is it because of mistrust for the law enforcement apparatus or it is because whistleblowing is alien to Ghana’s legal culture?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: They don’t trust the system. The person who blew the whistle in the NSS scandal was in court chasing his reward.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: This is rather a disincentive. That is a clear case of victimisation
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Just take a look at the penniless imbeciles who are on social media attacking Manasseh for blowing the zoom lion whistle. We are not eager in fighting crime when the bad guy is one of us.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: We all know the power of whistleblowing in United States. Whistleblowing almost brought Donald Trump’s presidency to its knees.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Loath or like us the system is not owned by any person.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Sadly!
Hakeem A. Tahiru: truism.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Counsel, our next questions is about crime investigation and evidence gathering.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: One of the existential challenges in our legal and justice system is the absence of hard evidence to prosecute white-collar crimes. Do you think the CID unit of the Ghana Police Service is adequately resourced to carry out surgical criminal investigations in their quest to gather concrete and inviolable evidence for prosecution of alleged crimes in our courts or it is rather the case that either the alleged criminals and the CID unit are always in bed or/and there is always an overpowering “invisible hand” that manipulates/interferes in the work of the CID? What do you recommend as a more pragmatic and proactive approach to gathering evidence to ensure that the rule of law is uphold, and criminal justice is not miscarried because poor evidence gathering?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: We haven’t developed our system so well to be at pace with the rest of the world.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Most of what we do as prosecutors will amount to nothing in the developed world. We hardly do DNA test .It takes us a long time if you’re not in the capital to know whether or not a sample taken is cocaine or konkonte.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: We need further training in gathering evidence. Sometimes we throw away good cases because the field officers are simply not up to the task.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Hmmm!!! Sometimes, I wonder if cocaine has the character of a chameleon because cocaine in police custody can sometimes change into floor or something else.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Still on police.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: In order to ensure effective enforcement of the laws of Ghana, including the criminal code, it is reasonable to expect that the primary agent of law enforcement, in this case, the police officer, must have the intellectual acumen to amply comprehend the law, perhaps comparable to or better than the lawyers. Taking a cross-sectional look at the Ghana Police Service, do you think significant majority of police officers are capable of reading and properly understanding the laws that they are seeking to enforce?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Wonderful question. I’m a firm believer in the fact that the minimum entry requirement into police service should have been first degree especially CID.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: I think so too, sir
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: It’s ironic to have unemployed graduates in public sector and employed JHS leavers.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: The work of the police depends so much on intelligence because most criminals are very intelligent and criminal investigation is a complex and convoluted process. I don’t think someone who cannot pass their high school exams can do this work.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Excellent Dr. They’re on the ground and they initiate the process. If they get it wrong the whole system collapsed.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The whole system will collapse
Hakeem A. Tahiru: undoubtedly
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Mcfoy vs. United Africa. You can’t put something on nothing and expect it to stand it will collapse… lord Denning
Hakeem A. Tahiru: A considerable number of Ghana’s Police Officers easily get intimidated by “big English” (they called it)
Hakeem A. Tahiru: very profound!
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Absolutely. They are simply not up to the task.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: The next question follows, please
Hakeem A. Tahiru: One Victor Hugo is purported to have made the statement: “he who opens a school door, closes a prison door”. Taking retrospective view on the paradigms of the administration of criminal justice in Ghana, are the colossal investments in our educational sector culminating in reduction of crime rate in Ghana? Do you think if Ghana is building more classrooms, improving quality of education and expanding excess to education instead of building more courtrooms, expanding prisons and recruiting more police officers, judges and training more criminal lawyers, will lead to significant reduction in crime rate?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: This question is pretty much an answer.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: I have no doubt that if we get more people to work we will get a much more out of prisons.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: This issue is about white-collar crimes. Some of the those are well educated and should help to rectify the system, rather use the knowledge and intellect to corrupt the system
Hakeem A. Tahiru: it appears education is not paying off positive dividends in the combat against white-collar crimes
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: We are not hard on them. We politicize everything. So, they know they can take refuge in politics.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: it is really a disturbing situation
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Prosper:
I would like to find out from the example counsel cited with having sex with someone’s wife in his matrimonial bed with the wife’s consent. If the husband comes in to meet them and takes an action which injures or ultimately leads to the death of any or both of these “adulterers”, what would be the possible outcomes in court???
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Counsel, we have a couple of questions more for you and shall bring our discussion to an end thereafter
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: If the evidence shows he acted impulsively he will have defense
Hakeem A. Tahiru: Great! However, difficult to establish, I think.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: Yes
Hakeem A. Tahiru: What do you think about the performance of the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin M. B. K Amidu? Do you think he has the free-hands to discharge his special prosecutorial obligations?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: I rather think you don’t ask this question.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: My views are so strong.
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: The SP is under the AG so he is not independent.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: That answers question, sir
Hakeem A. Tahiru: I don’t think the SP is independent
Hakeem A. Tahiru: What crimes can the Office of the Special Prosecutor prosecute that EOCO and/or CHRAJ cannot?
Hakeem A. Tahiru: We are in an election year and Ghana’s political space is heating up with the pandemonium surrounding the compilation of new voters register by the Electoral Commission, amidst reckless utterances by political activists and leaders, the fears of youth vigilantism and possible exacerbation of the COVID-19. What is your advice for leaders of political parties and the youth of our country as we approach the elections in December 2020?
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: His target is Political exposed persons (PEP).
Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur: We are genuine about vigilantism. If we could prosecute the hoodlums at Ayawaso West. We would have solved the problem.
Hakeem A. Tahiru: E.g. Wayome’s case and the like?
Hakeem A. Tahiru: hmmmm!
Hakeem A. Tahiru: This is where we end this very exhaustive, highly educative and insightful discussion. Thank you very much sir, *Lawyer Saeed Abdul Shaqur* for sharing such invaluable knowledge on Ghana’s Criminal Justice System, with Readers Hub. Lawyers do not usually share this valuable knowledge for free. Thanks for your generosity, cooperation, time and energy. We are immensely grateful. God bless you. Thanks to readers for your audience