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Two Interdicted Police Officers Freed   
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The Attorney General’s Department in Sekondi has exonerated two police officers, from the Drug Enforcement Unit in Takoradi, who were interdicted for allegedly assaulting a civilian without justifiable cause. The two police officers were interdicted by the Regional Command of the Police Service, after one Francis Essiaw accused them of assaulting him and his family in their home.

Information reaching The Chronicle also indicates that the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) faulted the bosses of the said police officers for interdicting them, since they were performing their legitimate duties. This was after the A-G’s Department had submitted their report on the findings to them. It would be recalled that on April 15th this year, seven police officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Police Service were alleged to have broken into the room of Francis Essiaw on suspicion that he was a drug peddler.

The police officers allegedly subjected the victim and his family to severe assault, handcuffed him, and later dumped him in a police cell, before he was eventually granted bail. The police did not find any trace of drugs when they broke into the victim’s room. A medical report the victim produced, confirmed that he had been assaulted. When The Chronicle broke the story, the Sekondi Command of the Police Service set up a committee to investigate the alleged assault, which was chaired by the Regional Crime Officer, Mr. Victor C. Agbenyato.

The Crime Officer, upon completion of investigations, interdicted the two officers, namely Lance Corporal Ebenezer Ahomanyi and Lance Corporal Ebenezer Halidu, and forwarded the docket of the case to the A-G for advice for possible prosecution.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s report, intercepted by The Chronicle and dated 26th of June 2009 headlined “Re-Alleged Assault on Francis Essiaw by Personnel of Drug Law Enforcement Unit,” stated, “the police officers are in the result absolved from any liabilities.” According to the report, which was signed Mr. George Y. F. Kpodo, Principal State Attorney, the harm the victim suffered “in my view is not grievous to warrant a criminal enquiry, having regard to the circumstances of this case, as stated supra, as the police were then doing a lawful duty.”

According to the report, had the complainant (victim of assault) cooperated fully with the police officers, no force, albeit minimal, would have been applied to try and arrest him. The report went on and justified that the complainant knew fully well that the ‘intruders’ on the night of 15th of April 2009 were police officers, yet because he thought he had not committed any offence, he decided to be hostile and unco-operative, resulting in his forcible arrest, and the concomitant injury to him.

The Principal State Attorney, who justified the force in which the police officers used in breaking into the room of the victim, quoted Section 5 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1960, which stipulates that “any police officer or other person authorised to make an arrest, may break out of any house or place in order to liberate himself or any other person who having lawfully entered for the purpose of making an arrest is detained therein.”

The report continued and defended the two police officers on the grounds that the law allowed the police to lawfully arrest anybody they reasonable suspected to have committed an offence, or being in the process of committing an offence. And if it turned out that the suspect (complainant) in question did not commit any offence, the police could not be blamed.
The police, according to the A-G’s report, have a duty to apologise for embarrassing the ‘suspect,’ and pay compensation for any injury or harm caused to him or damage to his property during the course of such unfortunate incidents. But, as to whether the Police Command would pay compensation to the suspect, is the question The Chronicle posed to the Regional Crime Officer, who confirmed receipt of the A-G’s report on the case.

The Crime Officer told this reporter that since the Police Service was a state institution, the complainant would have to institutecivil action to demand compensation from the police. When this paper pressed further to know when the two interdicted officers, who had now been exonerated, would be reinstated, he answered that the Sekondi Command of the Police Service would have to forward the report of the A-G to its superiors in Accra for study, for action to be taken on that. But, for now, he could not tell when the officers would be reinstated. The complainant, Francis Bissaw, also told this reporter that he would definitely go to court over the issue, to seek for damages.

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