Article 19 - Fair Trial

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(1) A person charged with a criminal offence shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court.

(2) A person charged with a criminal offence shall—

(a) in the case of an offence other than high treason or treason, the punishment for which is death or imprisonment for life, be tried by a judge and jury and—

(i) where the punishment is death, the verdict of the jury shall be unanimous; and

(ii) in the case of life imprisonment, the verdict of the jury shall be by such majority as Parliament may by law prescribe;

(b) in the case of an offence triable by a Regional Tribunal the penalty for which is death, the decision of the Chairman and the other panel members shall be unanimous;

(c) be presumed to be innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty;

(d) be informed immediately in a language that he understands, and in detail, of the nature of the offence charged;

(e) be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;

(f) be permitted to defend himself before the court in person or by a lawyer of his choice;

(g) be afforded facilities to examine, in person or by his lawyer, the witnesses called by the prosecution before the court, and to obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on the same conditions as those applicable to witnesses called by th prosecution;

(h) be permitted to have, without payment by him, the assistance of an interpreter where he cannot understand the language used at the trial; and

(i) in the case of the offence of high treason or treason, be tried by the High Court duly constituted by three Justices of that Court and the decision of the Justices shall be unanimous.

(3) The trial of a person charged with a criminal offence shall take place in his presence unless—

(a) he refuses to appear before the court for the trial to be conducted in his presence after he has been duly notified of the trial; or

(b) he conducts himself in such a manner as to render the continuation of the proceedings in his presence impracticable and the court orders him to be removed for the trial to proceed in his absence.

(4) Whenever a person is tried for a criminal offence the accused person or a person authorized by him shall, if he so requires, be given, within a reasonable time not exceeding six months after judgment, a copy of any record of the proceedings made by or on behalf of the court for the use of the accused person.

(5) A person shall not be charged with or held to be guilty of a criminal offence which is founded on an act or omission that did not at the time it took place constitute an offence.

(6) No penalty shall be imposed for a criminal offence that is severer in degree or description than the maximum penalty that could have been imposed for that offence at the time when it was committed.

(7) No person who shows that he has been tried by a competent court for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted, shall again be tried for that offence or for any other criminal offence of which he could have been convicted at the trial for the offence, except on the order of a superior court in the course of appeal or review proceedings relating to the conviction or acquittal.

(8) Notwithstanding clause (7) of this article, an acquittal of a person on a trial for high treason or treason shall not be a bar to the institution of proceedings for any other offence against that person.

(9) Paragraphs (a) and (b) of clause (2) of this article shall not apply in the case of a trial by a court-martial or other military tribunal.

(10) No person who is tried for a criminal offence shall he compelled to give evidence at the trial.

(11) No person shall be convicted of a criminal offence unless the offence is defined and the penalty for it is prescribed in a written law.

(12) Clause (11) of this article shall not prevent a Superior Court from punishing a person for' contempt of itself notwithstanding that the act or omission constituting the contempt is not defined in a written law and the penalty is not so prescribed.

(13) An adjudicating authority for the determination of the existence or extent of a civil right or obligation shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be established by law and shall be independent and impartial; and where proceedings for determination are instituted by a person before such an adjudicating authority, the case shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time.

(14) Except as may be otherwise ordered by the adjudicating authority in the interest of public morality, public safety, or public order the proceedings of any such adjudicating authority shall be in public.

(15) Nothing in this article shall prevent an adjudicating authority from excluding from the proceedings persons, other than the parties to the proceedings and their lawyers, to such an extent as the authority—

(a) may consider necessary or expedient in circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice; or

(b) may be empowered by law to do in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, the welfare of persons under, the age of eighteen or the protection of the private lives of persons concerned in the proceedings.

(16) Nothing in, or done under the authority of, any law shall be held to be inconsistent with, or in contravention of, the following provisions –

(a) paragraph (c) of clause (2) of this article, to the extent that the law in question imposes upon a person charged with a criminal offence, the burden of proving particular facts; or

(b) clause (7) of this article, to the extent that the law in question authorizes a court to try a member of a disciplined force for a criminal offence notwithstanding any trial and conviction or acquittal of that member under the disciplinary law of the force, except that any court which tries that member and convicts him shall, in sentencing him to any punishment, take into account any punishment imposed on him under that disciplinary law.

(17) Subject to clause (18) of this article, treason shall consist only—

(a) in levying war against Ghana or assisting any state, or person or inciting or conspiring with any person to levy war against Ghana; or

(b) in attempting by force of arms or other violent means to overthrow the organs of government established by or under this Constitution; or

(c) In taking part or being concerned in or inciting or conspiring with any person to make or take part or be concerned in, any such attempt.

(18) An act which aims at procuring by constitutional means an alteration of the law or of the policies of the Government shall not be considered as an act calculated to overthrow the organs of government.

(19) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, but subject to clause (20) of this article, Parliament may, by or under an Act of Parliament, establish military courts or tribunals for the trial of offences against military law committed by persons subject to military law.

(20) Where a person subject to military law, who is not in active service, commits an offence which is within the jurisdiction of a civil court, he shall not be tried by a court-martial or military tribunal for the offence unless the offence is within the jurisdiction of a court-martial or other military tribunal under any law for the enforcement of military discipline.

(21) For the purposes of this article "criminal offence" means a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana.