February 28, 2013 (Not published)
THE Supreme Court today struck out a writ which prayed it to declare as unconstitutional, the re-arrest of persons by the police immediately they are discharged by a court.
According to the court, the case had merit but it could best be handled by the Human Rights Court.
The court advised the plaintiff to re-strategise because the issues raised were not to be swept under the carpet.
The plaintiff, Eric Delanyo Alifo, a lawyer and Executive Director of Help Law Ghana through his solicitor, Mr Augustines Obour, had filed the writ praying the court to declare as unconstitutional a popular practice by the police where discharged accused persons were re-arrested and put before another court on the same offences.
He had also prayed the court to declare as illegal, the practice where police officers served as independent witnesses while suspects gave their statements to police as well as the practice where lawyers were denied private conference with their clients, who were in custody.
The respondents in the case were the Attorney-General and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
But the court, in dismissing the application after the applicants had withdrawn it, held that the issues raised by the applicant were human rights issues which could be handled by the Human Rights Court.
The court also held that the issues raised by the applicant were too generalised, and accordingly advised the applicant, to narrow down on a particular case or two to be used as references.
While commending and expressing appreciation at the efforts of the applicant to seek the court’s intervention in addressing pressing issues, the court said it would not entertain matters which did not need constitutional interpretation.
The court was presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba with Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Mrs Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr Jones Dotse, Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo as panel members.
The applicant had conceded that the issues raised did not need constitutional interpretation after the court had raised a number of questions.
Mr Obour later informed journalists that his client based his case on the re-arrest of accused persons after they had been discharged by a court of competent jurisdiction, and their subsequent re-arraignment before another court on the same offences on Article 14 of the 1992 Constitution, which guarantees the liberty of persons.
On the issue relating to police officers serving as independent witnesses, counsel said Section 120 of the Evidence Act allowed that but a current Supreme Court decision had nullified that procedure.
He cited Kwaku Frimpong versus the Republic as the case in which police officers had been barred from serving as independent witnesses.
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