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Instant Justice: Blame The Perpetrators Or Our Justice System?

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Suspected criminal being manhandled
Suspected criminal being manhandled

Instant justice now seems to be gradually gaining ground in Bolgatanga, and if care is not taken, it could cost innocent people their lives. This year alone, two deaths have been recorded – one at Yikene and the other at Bukere near the National Service flats.

In as much as the perpetrators of this crime might have been venting their anger on suspected criminals because they may have fallen victim, it is important to make the point that in their judgmental action, they could take the live of an innocent person.

Even in instances where the perpetrators grab the suspects red handed, the right way would be to hand them over to the police for due process of the law to be taken, for they never will know if such a suspect is just a single member of a syndicate who would have given further information to the police to clamp down on their accomplices or not.

In the view of those who unleash instant justice, the wheels of justice do not only grind too slowly, but are also manipulated by the very security officers who are supposed to process them for court, and in the end, they (suspected criminals) are left off the hook. The freed criminals then become hardened, experienced, and when striking again, do so with total disregard for human feelings and lives.

Again, interferences by family members and sometimes so-called respectable leaders in freeing criminals from facing the due process of the law in itself, is a contributory factor that leaves no option for victims of suspected criminals than lynching. In as much as many have condemned instant justice, so do others see it as the best option to treat suspected criminals. What many say is, “wait until you fall victim of their nefarious actions before you appreciate instant justice.”

This is an indication that our Police Service has failed us so much so that we no longer have an iota of confidence in it. Interestingly, personnel of this service have often condemned instant justice, forgetting that it is as a result of their failure that people no longer have confidence in the service or believe in its personnel.

Therefore, in order for us to have instant justice halted, our Police Service must give us the reason why we should have confidence in it by expeditiously, efficiently and professionally dealing with suspected criminals who are arrested.

On the other hand, members of the public must also be mindful that in meting out instant justice, if they are identified and caught, the law will treat them as criminals, and not as victims of any criminal offense.

Recently, an angry mob at Zaare, a suburb of Bolgatanga almost lynched a young man, believed to be in his mid 20s, for allegedly breaking into a house and a store in the area with two others. He was severely beaten up and stripped naked, dragged on the ground until he was rescued.

He was admitted at the emergency unit of the regional hospital. Items stolen from the house included a motorbike, a decoder and a television set. Those stolen at the store were biscuits, mineral water and other assorted items, but, for the timely intervention of the police, through a call made to them by a Good Samaritan, this man would have been lynched.

In this instance, it is expected that the police will not massage the case and finally release the suspect, as they have done in some cases without meticulous investigations, because it is my firm conviction that if members of the public have confidence in our justice system at all times, they would not take the law into their own hands.

By: William N-lanjerborr Jalulah (nlanjerborr@yahoo.com)
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