The Madina Constituency Member of Parliament, Francis-Xavier Sosu, has initiated a process to introduce a legal regime that will ensure that persons who have been wrongfully arrested, detained and convicted are compensated, so as to give effect to clauses (5) and (7) of Article 14 of the 1992 Constitution.
Clause (5) of Article 14 reads: “A person who is unlawfully arrested, restricted or detained by any other person shall be entitled to compensation from that other person.”
Clause (7) says: “Where a person who has served the whole or part of his sentence is acquitted on an appeal by a court other than the Supreme Court, the court may certify to the Supreme Court that the person acquitted be paid compensation; and the Supreme Court may upon examination of all the facts and the certificate of the court concerned, award such compensation as it may think fit; or where the acquitted is by the Supreme Court, it may order compensation to be paid to the person acquitted.
However, several individuals across the regions of the country have suffered wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution, unlawful detention and wrongful conviction, yet have not been able to access any compensation entitled to them as a result of the wrong done them.
Further more, despite the provisions made in Article 14 as earlier stated, it has been challenging for the court to determine the adequate compensation for the victims—all due to the absence of clear legal guide on the type of compensation to be paid.
The MP therefore found it necessary to propose for the introduction of the legal framework through a Private Members’ Bill to address the unfair treatment meted out to the victims. He thus wrote a proposal to the Clerk of Parliament to lay before the House the elements of the Acts.
The Compensation Act, based on the document sighted by angelonline.com.gh, is in four parts:
Part one defines what amounts to wrongful arrest, unlawful detention, malicious prosecution and wrongful conviction.
Part two provides formula for calculating compensation units on hourly, daily, weekly, momthly and yearly basis and also provides the circumstances under which a particular compensation must apply as against the already defined areas of compensation.
Part three provides for the source of the compensation which will be the consolidated fund, but with a pro viso that offending officials of state or agents of government (Police, Military, Courts etc) who may br complicit in the violation will br surcharged with whatever compensation paid by the state to the person whose rights have been violated.
Part four provides for miscellaneous clauses.
Francis-Xavier Sosu who is also a human right lawyer, indicated in the proposal that any person seeking to apply for a compensation can do so through the “Solicitor General who will have the power to determine the comoensation due the person as per the Act.”
“Where there is a disagreement, as to the amount to be paid, a formal application can be made to the High Court for determination. Where determination is not made after 30 days of the application, the person shall apply to the Higher Court for the determination of the compensation,” he said.