All persons arrested by the Police without warrant who are not subsequently charged, whether bailed or not, are to be reported to the various district magistrate courts across the country, the Human Rights Court has ruled.
Accordingly, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Attorney General have been ordered to ensure that the various officers in charge of Police Stations in Ghana report such arrests on monthly basis without fail.
Also, the IGP has been given October 29 to appear before the Human Rights Court either in person or assign a rep to “show proof of compliance” of the order given by Justice Gifty Agyei Addo.
Though section 16 of the Ghana’s Criminal and Other Offences Act (Act 30) mandates police officers in charge of all Police Stations to report on monthly basis such arrests, they have for the past 57 years failed to comply.
Section 16 of Act 30 states: “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”
A research conducted by the Center for Constitutional Order, an entity championing total compliance with laws, revealed that section of the Act has since 1960 not been complied with by the Police
The “serious noncompliance” of the Act compelled the Center to initiate a court action against the Inspector General of Police on October 19, 2017 after efforts to get the Police to ensure compliance failed.
Per a November 2017 directive of the court, the Attorney General was joined to the case that sought an order of mandamus to compel the Police to strictly conform to Section 16 of Act 30.
The Center for Constitution Order argued the noncompliance was a clear violation of the human rights of the people.
It claimed in the case that findings of the research were shared with both the Inspector General of Police and the Chief Justice to ensure compliances of the law.
The Chief Justice on receipt of the findings wrote to the IGP on January 6, 2017 to inform him to take action on the matter but the IGP, according to the Center, either failed, refused or neglected to comply.
Court establish breaches
“Undoubtedly section 16 of Act 30 imposes a stator duty on the IGP and his officials,” the court in its March 29 judgement concluded.
“I find as a fact from the application that the IGP has failed to carry out the requirement of law upon it as per section 16 of Act 30 in that the allegation or claim of the applicant has not been resisted,” it added.
It thus granted the order of mandamus, which compels the Ghana Police to fully comply with the order failure of which could put the IGP and police officers in charge of all Police stations in Ghana in contempt of court.
No cost was awarded against the IGP.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana