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We Expected A Stiffer Punishment
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FOR now, one issue that appears to be gaining currency is the fines meted out to the thirteen (13) members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) affiliated vigilante group –Delta Force.

IT will be recalled that on Thursday, October 19, 2017 the Asokwa Circuit Court in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region imposed a fine of GH¢1,800 on each of the 13 accused Delta Force persons, or in default serve a 12-month jail term.

THIS was after the 13 accused persons had all pleaded guilty to a substituted charge of “Conspiracy to commit a crime by rioting.”

FOLLOWING the fine imposed by the court, several civil society groups have been commenting on the matter.  In fact, many of them have expressed disappointment over the kind of punishment that was meted out to these 13 members.

ONE of such groups, Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), is of the strongest view that the total amount of GH¢23,400 fine dished out by the Asokwa Circuit Court to the 13 Delta Force members was not only lenient but a “setback to the efforts to promote decency in politics.”

“WHILE the CDD-Ghana acknowledges that the process leading to the verdict followed the rule of law, it is also saddened by the leniency of the judgement,” the CDD expressed this in a statement issued yesterday.

THE primary objective of punishment is in two fold. One is to make the offender aware that he/she has wronged, and two, to serve as deterrent to others.

WELL in the wake of the punishment meted out to the 13 Delta Force members, Today cannot but agree with all those who are saying that the punishment is not deterring enough, especially when a lot has been said on the need to stop political vigilante groups and their illegal activities.

IN our view this punishment would rather goad on political vigilante groupings to carry out their illegal activities, knowing very well that the law will be soft on them.

WE would have expected a stiffer punishment, especially when these Delta Force members, in the full glare of heavily armed security personnel, stormed a competent court of jurisdiction trying their colleagues, and threatened the judge, thereby disrupting the proceedings.

THIS is nothing more than a serious threat to the rule of law, and we on this paper expected nothing more than a punishment deterring enough to prevent a recurrence of such an incident.

LIKE the CDD-Ghana pointed out in their statement, the verdict be welcoming for the ruling NPP and some of their teeming supporters, but we must be wary of the fact that it has the potential to encourage some more impunity by these political vigilante groupings that belong to both the NPP and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Source: Today

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