Assessing the relevance of the Jury system in Ghana’s jurisprudence

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Jury trials are an important component of Ghana's legal system.

Any Ghanaian citizen or resident of Ghana between the ages of 25 and 60 is qualified to serve as a juror.

Offences such as , manslaughter, rape and treason felony are mostly handled by with the assistance of such citizens who are persons with no knowledge of the .

The jurors in the stayed away from the courts over unpaid allowances, for weeks.

They are however back in court performing their crucial roles.

At the , three criminal cases that require the services of jurors were all attended to, on Monday, November 20.

“We have responded to the plea of the Chief Justice to come to court, so we are here today. We have sat on three cases already and are still in court waiting for the other cases to be heard. We assured her that we will be committed to our work as expected of us just as she also assured us that the will not and all the arrears will be paid”, Foreman General of Jurors in Ashanti, Albert Ackah indicated.

During an engagement with jurors, Chief Justice, Gertrude Torkornoo observed some systemic lapses in the work of the jury that needs to be addressed.

“Where a juror is stuck to the court system and is recycled between courts for years, then clearly, we are compromising the integrity of decisions. So, to me, that's a huge systemic weakness we have created that must be dealt with and dealt with as soon as we can”.

Well, in spite of the importance of the work of the juror, there is a debate on whether the jury system in the country's jurisprudence should be maintained or scrapped.

The Attorney-General recently criticized the jury system following a controversial verdict in the Gregory Afoko trial.

The seven-member panel, despite being unable to unanimously convict Gregory Afoko on any of the charges against him, convicted his co-accused of the offence of conspiracy to commit murder.

The Attorney-General says a bill is in to do away with that form of trial to avoid such problematic outcomes.

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