Sophia Akuffo’s last judgement is a memorable one for Human Rights – Lawyer

Private legal practitioner, Lawyer Osei Junior, has described the “48 hour detention” ruling by the Supreme Court of Ghana presided over Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo as a ground breaking decision for the advancement of human rights in Ghana.

According to him, the decision by the court, which happens to be the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo’s valedictorian (bidding farewell) judgement, will help avoid unfair treatment of persons arrested, due to wrongly implemented “48 hour” detention rule.

The ruling by a seven-member Supreme court panel warrants that the “48 hour” rule on the power to arrest, restrict and detain suspects in Ghana is applicable on all holidays and by extension all seven days of the week.

Judgement is as a result of an application invoking the original Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for an interpretation of article 14 clause 3 of the 1992 Constitution which states that “a person who is arrested, restricted or detained (a) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of an order of a court; or (b) upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed or being about to commit a criminal offence under the laws of Ghana, and who is not released, shall be brought before a court within forty-eight hours after the arrest, restriction or detention.

In an interview today on Rainbow radio, Lawyer Osei Junior explained that, the previous application of the “48 hour” detention rule allowed for detained persons to overstay the “48” hour period due to courts not working on weekends or holidays.

“The police has only 48 hours to detain a suspect or criminal, and can only extend it after taking a remand order from the court. 

“But in many instances, when the 48 hours is due on a weekend, because the court doesn’t work on weekends, the detained person can only be sent to court the following Monday. This automatically makes detainee’s stay more than 48 hours”

He asserted the, the new interpretation of the 48 detention rule will ensure detainees are fairly dealt. Hence this “last judgement” delivered by her Justice Sophia Akuffo before the end of her tenure as Ghana’s 13th Chief Justice since Independence has to be commended.

Source: Jonas Danquah 

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