High court overturns Juvenile court ruling in the Achimota SHS murder case

The Criminal Division of the Accra High court Presided over by Justice Kofi Dorgu, has overturned the ruling of the Juvenile court which jailed a final-year student of Achimota School in Accra for killing a female colleague in January 2017.

Justice Dorgu has therefore, ordered the immediate release of the 17-year old student of Achimota school who is currently serving a three year jail term at a correctional Home.

According to the Presiding Judge, the trial of the accused at the Juvenile court exceeded the six months period as stipulated in the Juvenile Act.

The court has therefore ordered that the judgment by the Juvenile court be quashed and the accused discharged.

Justice Dorgu maintained that there was a miscarriage of justice because the juvenile court delivered a verdict without waiting for a social enquiry report.

He went further to explained that the earlier ruling by Justice Bernardine S.A Senoo contravened the Juvenile Act which requires the report to be issued before sentencing.

The Act also says the trial must not travel beyond 6months. When the Juvenile Court realized the 6months was almost up it sentenced the guy and now ordered for the report to be put together. He noted

Section 24 of the Act states:

Social Enquiry  Report.

(1) Where a juvenile is charged with an offence, the juvenile court shall order a social enquiry report to be submitted to the court which shall be taken into account by the court in the making of an order.

(2) The social enquiry report shall be prepared by a  probation officer who shall visit the home of the juvenile.

(3) The social enquiry report shall include particulars on the background of the juvenile, the present circumstances of the juvenile, the conditions under which the offence was committed and recommendations for sentence.

(4) The social enquiry report may include a recommendation that the matter before the juvenile court be referred to a child panel established under the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) but the referral shall only be in respect of a minor offence.

(5) The court shall ensure that the contents of the report are made known to the juvenile and a copy shall be made available to the juvenile or the legal representative of the juvenile.

(6) The court may request an oral report from the probation officer in addition to the social enquiry report.

(7) If the court does not follow the recommendations given in the report, written reasons shall be given as to why the recommendations have not been complied with.

Source: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

franklin.asare-donkor@todaygh.com

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