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General News of Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Source: GNA

A-G, IGP and Police Hospital in contempt suit

Accra, July 19, GNA - A committal for contempt has been filed at an Accra High Court against the Attorney-General's Department, Inspector-General of Police and the Police Hospital in Accra for burying a labourer of the Ada Songhor Salt Project Site, notwithstanding, litigation on the body.

Emmanuel Agbewornu, who was allegedly assaulted and shot by a Policeman at Ada known as Edem on September 18, 2004 was buried by the Police Hospital during a mass burial.

In a motion on notice for committal for contempt filed by Mr Bright Akwetey, Counsel for Agbewornu Family of Ada, the family is seeking an order of mandamus to compel the respondents to cause a post-mortem examination to be conducted on the body of the deceased by an independent pathologist.

Counsel has further filed an ex-parte motion for an order to exhume the body of Agbewornu.

In a supporting affidavit, the head of Agbewornu Family, Mr Samuel Agbator Sewu said a substantive suit was filed on August 25, 2004, to, among other things, cause the respondents to conduct fresh post-mortem examination on the deceased and the Attorney - General represented the respondents.

It noted that the applicant sent a number of family members to ascertain the state of the body at the mortuary.

"A morgue attendant by name Adu told Korkor Ocansey, Amagatcher and Yohuno that if they did not come for the body, it would be buried because there was a pending mass burial of unclaimed bodies." It noted that a letter was written to the Medical Director of the Police Hospital that the body of Agbewornu was a subject of litigation. The motion said the body of the deceased was deliberately buried to cover the case against the Policeman and to frustrate a pending autopsy and render unnecessary, any judgement or ruling of the court in relation to the suit.

On July 4, 2005, Counsel for the applicant further prayed the court for an order directed at the Medical Director of the Police Hospital to exhume the body of Emmanuel Agbwornu, who was buried on an unspecified date this year on the instruction of the Hospital.

In the substantive suit filed on August 25, 2005, the applicant said Emmanuel Agbewornu was a labourer at Pan Number 4 at the Ada Songhor Salt Site Project.

In a supporting affidavit it noted that the deceased in the company of two other relatives, namely Moses Agbewornu and Matthew Angmler on September 18, 2004 at about 5:30 am went to site to commence their daily work.

When the deceased and his two colleagues got to pan 20, which was close to the entrance of the project site they were ordered to stop by some Policemen in a pick-up vehicle.

Soon after, the Policemen started shooting indiscriminately and without any provocation assaulted the deceased with the butts of the rifles.

As a result, the deceased fell into the salt pool of Pan 20 but was rescued by his two colleagues.

However, when he was sent to the Battor Hospital he was pronounced dead.

Following the documentary process at the Dawa Police Station the body of the deceased was conveyed to the Police Hospital Morgue in Accra.

A post-mortem was conducted on the body on September 25, 2004 without the family members being present.

The Pathologist's report said the cause of death could not be determined "due to decomposition" of the body.

The family members vehemently protested against the post-mortem report.

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