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Trial by Court of Summary Jurisdiction

There are a few circumstances in which a juvenile would be tried in a court that is not a juvenile court. A district court or circuit court may have jurisdiction over a juvenile under one of three conditions: (1) there is no juvenile court constituted in the area[1]; (2) the juvenile is charged with an adult for an offense[2]; and (3) the juvenile has committed an offense which would have been punishable by death if committed by an adult.[3] Where a juvenile is tried by a non-juvenile court and convicted, the child has to be remitted to a juvenile court for a disposition to be made, and the juvenile court may proceed as if the child had been tried by that juvenile court.[4] The procedure is the same even for an offense such as murder, which is otherwise punishable by death. Ghana’s law has changed dramatically with respect to capital crimes and other serious offenses; therefore, no child can be sentenced to death, however heinous the crime.

  • [1] Act 653, Section 17(2)
  • [2] Act 653, Section 17(3)
  • [3] Act 653, Section 17(4)
  • [4] Act 653, Section 18
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