The alleged rape suspects informed the Court that they had been languishing behind bar for years now because of no money to hire lawyers.
"We have been in jail for more than four to five years and nobody has come to our defense. This is our first time coming in court. We are suffering in prison and need to be heard," the court record quotes the inmates as saying.
18:2 of the Criminal procedure law states: “Anyone that is accused of an indictable offense must be indicted and tried within two terms of court.”
Also, Section 18.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law gives the state the right to drop cases against any persons that is indicted as result of insufficient evidence.
Judge Cianeh Clinton-Johnson of Criminal Court 'E' was moved by the rape suspects' condition and ordered the clerk to communicate with the office of the Public Defenders in order provide legal service for the defendants in keeping with law.
The statistics reveals that most of the men have been in prison since 2007 in violation of Section 18. 2.
Despite their appearance in court, Atty. Arthur Tamba of the Johnson & Saysay Law Firm Johnson said it was legal to dismiss the cases against the accused.
Atty. Johnson stated that such motion "will force the government to prosecute the 274 detainees or release them, instead of keeping them in jail without trial".
He argued that the prolong detention without trial violated the defendants' rights, thus a motion for dismissal of their cases will be in keeping with law.
The accused offenses range from gang rape, attempted rape, and other rape or sexual offenses.
Photo Caption: Some of the alleged rapists leaving court