Jurors on strike over allowances
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Jurors on strike over allowances

Jurors in the country have once again laid down their tools in protest of the non-payment of allowances covering a 10-month period.

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Complainants seeking justice for their families in murder cases continue to bear the brunt of the situation, which leads to zero progress in indictable cases. Their latest strike action comes barely six months after their last protest in November last year.

The jury is made up of seven ordinary but educated persons who, subject to the directions of the judge, decide the guilt or innocence of an accused in a case tried on indictment.

Letter

In a letter dated May 16, 2024, addressed to the Court Manager of the Law Court Complex and copied to the Judicial Secretary, the jurors said the non-payment of their allowance had made it “practically impossible for us to continue to pre-finance our transportation to and from court premises”.

As a result, they have decided to register their displeasure by staging a strike effective yesterday, leading to the adjournment of all indictable cases, including murder, at the High Court.

The jurors said during their last follow-up on government’s promise to pay the arrears this month, they were told there was no money. “We regret any inconvenience our absence may have to the expeditious delivery of justice,” the statement said.

Last strike

During their last strike, Chief Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo convinced them to return to court after they suspended their services in November last year. Their strike had resulted in a halt in murder cases amounting to a backlog of cases.

Initially owed 13 months of arrears, the government released funds on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, covering only three months (October to December 2022). The jurors, however, lamented that the released funds were insufficient and vowed to abstain from duties until the government settled the remaining 10-month arrears for 2023. 

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