Ama Forson, a food vendor, who was wrongfully jailed 11 years for possession of narcotics (Indian hemp) has now been served with justice.
She has been acquitted and discharged after she appealed against her conviction under the Justice For All Programme.
The 69-year-old, then 64, though denied the allegation was found guilty by the Circuit Court in Accra in 2016.
She is is a beneficiary of In Prison Paralegal Programme/Appeal of POS Foundation, which empowers inmates to file an appeal by themselves when their conviction or trial might have suffered a miscarriage of justice because of their inability to secure a good lawyer to cross-examine evidence adduced against them.
Ama Forson, at a short Programme at the Law Court Complex, to share her story broke down in tears while sharing her story.
Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah said the country’s justice delivery system has internal corrective mechanisms for persons whose conviction or trial might have suffered injustice.
However, it took those with the means to trigger the law, he said.
“A well-funded national Legal Aid Scheme should be an important program that as a nation, we should commit our resources for our people,” Chief Justice Anin said this in a speech read on his behalf at the premiering of a documentary dubbed: “The untold story of Ama Forson,”.
The CJ in his speech read by Justice Gabriel Pwamang, a Justice of the Supreme Court, called for the institutionalization of the POS Foundation concept of In-Prison Paralegal Programme by continuously perusing the records of convicts who had reasons to believe that they had been wrongfully incarcerated.
According to him, due to the complex nature of the crime, the law had an elaborate provision to ensure that while criminals were effectively dealt with, innocent persons were not mistakenly punished.
“Police or prosecutors may, out of zeal or human error, present evidence, which may not be true. This evidence may enter into the records of court because the accused might not have a lawyer or may have an inexperienced lawyer to cross-examine on the wrongful evidence,” the CJ noted.
“But the system has made provision for such unfortunate slips to be corrected by appeal or review of the judicial processes.”
According to him, the intervention of the POS Foundation and its partners came in handy to assist the system to correct itself.
He, therefore, commended the Foundation for organizing a virtual court under the Justice for All Programme for inmates as the world battled with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Judiciary, under his watch he said, “is committed to our role in the fight against crime by ensuring that those who make it their business to disturb the peace of this country are punished according to the law of the country.
“We can only do our work if the Police and the Attorney General are able to gather sufficient evidence against those they prosecute in court.”
The Acting Deputy Chief of Missions at the United States Embassy, Virginia Elliot, said the greatness of a nation was measured on how it treated the marginalized.
According to her, the US Government was providing support by training prosecutors and lawyers on the Case Tracking System where criminal cases would be monitored from start to finish.
KAB FAM GHc200k gesture
Touched by Ama Forson’s story, Chief Executive Officer of KAB FAM Ghana Limited, Kwaku Antwi Boahen, dealers in electrical appliances, donated a cheque for GH¢ 20,000 to Ama Forson, who had no fixed place of abode, to start a business.
He pledged to provide her with some appliances as a start-up for her business.