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Court orders compensation for man unlawfully detained for 2yrs

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By Aisha Tamba & Fatou Saho

Justice AT Osei of the Kanifing High Court has ordered the State to pay a compensation to one Muhammed Camara, a robbery suspect for being wrongly detained at the State Central Prisons without trial.  

Mr Camara was awarded the sum of D400, 000 for being wrongly detained for two years.

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He was arrested for an alleged robbery and was detained by an order of remand by the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court on 7 May 2021 at Mile II Central Prisons to the 1st of June 2021. According to Camara’s application, despite the long expiration of the remand warrant, he remained in prison custody without being arraigned before any court of competent jurisdiction or charged with any offence.

He stated that his continuous detention at Mile II Central Prisons without trial is unjustifiable, unconstitutional and a violation of his rights. In an attempt to prove that he was a minor at the time of his arrest, he attached his birth certificate to his application.

However, the state denied the assertion of Camara’s application that he was a minor at the time of his detention and has not been arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction. The state further urged the court to disregard the birth certificate on the grounds that it was found to be forged and fraudulent.

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The court however agreed that the continuous detention of the applicant since May 2021 without being tried is unconstitutional.

The court also ordered the applicant to be released unconstitutionally from detention forthwith and be compensated by the State with the sum of D400,000.00.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Osei Tutu said it is unfortunate that the court is being put in a difficult situation of having to issue such compensatory order against the State. “It is hoped that this would put the Office of the Attorney General on its toes. The wrongful detention of individuals in prison custody without availing them trial within a reasonable time has been observed to be prevalent in the country and is a clear infringement of the affected persons’ liberties and an expressed violation of the constitutional order,” he stated.

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