The Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) is calling on the Ghana Police Service to provide its office with details of the whereabouts of the commercial bus driver and his conductor, who allegedly assaulted a police officer at Weija on 16 March 2019, to enable the centre grant the accused persons legal representation.
Mr Francis Buabeng, and his assistant, Albert Ansah, were arrested by the police for assaulting an officer and were arraigned on 18 March 2019.
In a statement released by the HRAC and signed by its Executive Director Cynthia Ampredu-Nimo on Thursday, 21 March 2019, the centre explained that the driver and his mate did not have legal representation during the court proceedings and have been put on remand for two weeks to reappear before the court on 1 April 2019.
Representatives of HRAC, on 20 March 2019, together with the Car Dealers Association and Committed Drivers Association, “visited the Odorkor District Police Station to visit the accused persons and provide them with legal representation in accordance with their right to fair trial under Article 19 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. An Investigator at the station, Officer Jonas, however, informed us that the accused persons had been transferred to the Police Headquarters. The representatives of the Human Rights Advocacy Centre proceeded to the Police Headquarters to make enquiries and were informed that the Police Headquarters did not maintain holding cells for remanded persons and that the accused persons could not be in their custody”, the statement noted.
It continued: “We are, by this statement, bringing to the attention of the general public that we do not know the whereabouts of the two accused persons. The Ghana Police Service has failed and refused to inform us of their whereabouts and have denied us access to the accused persons despite the fact that they were in the custody of the police as of 18 March when they were arraigned in Weija. This is an obvious violation of their right to legal representation and contrary to the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.”
The centre said it is, therefore, calling “on the Ghana Police Service to immediately provide the Human Rights Advocacy Centre with information on the place of detention of the two accused persons as requested in our letter to the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department, Police Headquarters, copied to the Inspector General of the Ghana Police Service and the Commander of the Odorkor District Police Station, dated 21 March 2019”, and also demanding “immediate access to the accused persons to enable” the HRAC “provide them with legal representation.”
The group added that with the support of “the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, Ghana and lawyers Martin Kpebu and Augustin Gyamfi”, the centre will ensure that “the accused persons receive legal representation and a fair trial.”