Some inmates at the Sekondi Prisons in the Western Region have urged prospective lawyers from the Faculty of Law in the University of Cape Coast (UCC) to exercise due diligence in dealing with their clients, accusing their lawyers of professional negligence which they claim rendered them in the prison.
These issues came to light during a confabulation between the Criminal Law II students and the inmates which was spearheaded by the course lecturer Mr Ofori Awuah and some prisons officials. Some inmates took turns to express their concerns to the students who in exchange explained to them pertinent legal matters including human rights.
Amongst their concerns was the fact that some lawyers take exorbitant fees from them but fail to represent them in court throughout the defense process saying they “landed in prison due to our lawyers’ mistakes” or a feud that existed between them [lawyers] and a judge.
One of the consequences they say, was trial without legal representation and “yet they[lawyers] will not give any tangible reasons for not appearing in court.” one of them [name withheld] emphasised and further said “I, for example, have 3 children in SHS and my lawyer’s carelessness about my case warranted me here in remand since the past 2 years”.
In reaction, Mr Ofori Awuah, expressed displeasure about their ordeal and recalled some lessons with the students but expressed optimism to the inmates that his students will become better lawyers learning from their stories.
Appealing to the conscience of the inmates, some of the upcoming lawyers however entreated the inmates to speak thoroughly with their lawyers by telling them the whole truth about their case so that the lawyers can gather all defensive skills to help during trials.
The student lawyers further explained that some accused persons keep their lawyers in the unknown on certain events leading to their accusations; the dishonesty, according to them, could make their lawyers helpless when new developments spring during cross examinations.
The inmates insisted that the upcoming lawyers should not be playful with cases which involve people’s life but rather tell clients the truth from onset either they have a good case or a bad case. They suggested that lawyers should contract with clients from day one, whether or not they could represent them through to the end, so they could establish a breach of contract if any occurs.
While appealing for more lawyers to work at the Attorney General Department to increase the pace at which cases are adequately handled, the inmates also called on professional lawyers to come to their aid by reviewing their cases.
Source: Emmanuel Amoakohene Yeboah | Choicism.com