Xavier-Sosu initiates Bill to secure fair compensation for unlawful arrests and convictions
Member of Parliament for Madina and renowned human rights lawyer, Francis Xavier-Sosu, has initiated moves for the passage of a law that will ensure the payment of the right compensation to persons who are unlawfully arrested, detained, or convicted.
The MP’s move, initiated under the Private Member’s Bill, is to among other things give effect to clauses (5) and (7) of Article 14 of the 1992 Constitution.
In the proposal sighted by us, the legislator expressed concern about the fact that there are no laid down rules that cater for people who have been wrongfully arrested, detained, and or convicted when they get the opportunity to seek redress for the wrongs done to them by the state.
This, he said, is in sharp contrast to the laid down penalty units provided for by law which prescribes the amount to be paid as a fine whenever a crime is committed.
Citing several court rulings, Hon. Sosu indicated that the situation has given rise to compensations often left at the discretion of the court or judge, which he believes is unsatisfactory as compared to the kind of wrong suffered by the person due to the wrongful act committed by actors of the state agencies.
“There are several individuals who have been victims of wrongful arrests, malicious prosecution, unlawful detention and wrongful conviction who have been unable to access any compensation due to lack of very clear rules on the type of compensation they can be entitled to as a result of the wrong done to them”, excerpts of the MP’s proposal read.
To remedy the situation, Francis Xavier Sosu is seeking a Compensation Act that will clearly define what amounts to wrongful arrest, unlawful detention, malicious prosecution, and wrongful conviction.
He also wants the Act will to provide a formula for calculating compensation units on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, and provide the circumstances under which a particular compensation must apply as against the already defined areas of compensation.
In addition, the Act will together with other miscellaneous clauses provide for the sources of the compensation which will be the consolidated fund, but with a provision that offending officials of state or agents of government; police, military, courts, and others who may be complicit in the violation would be surcharged with whatever compensation paid by the state to the person whose rights have been violated.