By: Josephine Tetteh
An Accra-based legal think-tank, Center for Constitutional Order (CENCORD) has secured a landmark case against the Inspector General of Police (IGP) David Asante Apeatu.
The Judgment read by Her Ladyship Justice Gifty Agyei Addo of Human Rights Court of the High Court ordered the IGP to comply with section 16 of Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure) Act, 1960 (Act 30) as amended.
According to the law, “Officers in charge of the police station, shall report monthly to the nearest District Magistrate the cases of all persons arrested without warrant within the limits of their respective stations, and not subsequently charged with an offence, whether those persons have been admitted to bail or not”
The Court again ordered the IGP to appear before the Court whether by himself or his accredited representative to show proof of the compliance of this Order on October 29, 2018.
The Police Service since its creation in 1960, some 57 years ago, has not complied with this law.
In an interview with The Herald, the Executive Director of the Center, Solomon Osei Fosu, explained the reason CENCORD went to court.
According to him, the Center conducted a research and found that there was no report on person arrested without warrant and not charged as stipulated by the section 16 of Act 30 and wrote to the IGP and the Chief Justice to remind them of violation of the statute.
The Chief Justice subsequently wrote to the IGP to comply with the statute which the IGP failed and/or refused.
“It is of this we as a Center went to court for a mandamus to compel the IGP to carry on his statutory duty as imposed on him by law.
We then wanted to know if IGP still failed and or refused to comply with the orders of the court”, he said.
In simple term, Mr. Osei Fosu said, “That is a contempt of court”.
He rhetorically asked “Do you know citizens can also arrest ‘criminals’”? However, he was quick to say, “I do not think the IGP will disrespect the court”.
When asked the relevance of the judgment to the general public, Mr. Osei Fosu who is also the Executive Secretary of Center for Constitutional Order had this to say;
- Protection and preservation of the human rights and freedoms against arbitrary arrest or abuse of police arresting powers of State which the politicians sometimes use against their opponents and police officers against ordinary people living in the country.
- To reaffirm the need to report and hand over any person arrested by private persons and or any other state institution to nearest police station.
- Creating a database on which bases the sovereign people of Ghana may assess the genuineness of arrested persons who are not charged and or put before trial
- Thereby protecting the State against undesirable persons who are genuinely arrested and yet never face criminal trial as they are never charged and or left of the hook by police exercising their discretion thereto.
In his conclusion, he said, the Center would be monitoring the police in compliance of this order and help the police to comply with the orders of the court.