Jurors abandon  courts over unpaid allowances

Story: Hamza Mohammed 

Jurors in the Upper West region have for the second time in three months stayed away from the courts in protest against delays in paying their sitting allowances.

The action by the jurors brought court proceedings to a halt as on Wednesday, November 8, all indictable cases were adjourned to December.

In an exclusive interview with  the media the jurors’ foreman, Abdul Hakeem Sulemana, stated that they had not been paid their sitting allowance for two years and would  not return to court until the monies are paid.

According to him, the Greater Accra branch of jurors who petitioned over their allowances had been paid. They, on the other hand, haven’t been paid and they were not sure what was causing the delay in payment in the Upper West branch.

“Somewhere in July, we came to the premises of the court to register our displeasure over the court authorities not paying our allowances from November 2021 till date. So we are following up on the payment of our allowances,” he added.

In July, the adjudication of rape, murder and manslaughter cases in the Upper West region was suspended after members of the jury there staged a walkout, accusing government of unfair treatment as their allowances had been in arrears since 2021.

The jurors numbering about 25 abandoned criminal cases to express their displeasure.

Meanwhile, some lawyers say the absence of jurors from the courts has halted court proceedings.

The Principal State Attorney of the court called on the government to intervene in the situation.

“For the whole of last year, we could not complete any criminal case that was tried on indictment. All the rape, murder cases were in court but we could not be on trial without them [jurors],” he said.

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