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General News of Monday, 27 March 2017


IGP apologises to three Multimedia staff over police assault

The Police Administration has issued an unqualified apology to three of Multimedia reporters who were assaulted by personnel of the Police Service while on official duties in 2015.

The apology follows a court order given by a Human Rights Court against the Inspector General of Police and the former Mayor of Accra Alfred Oko Vanderpuije.

The court, presided over by Justice Anthony K Yeboah insisted that Mr Vanderpuije and the police in 2015 interfered in the work of the three Multimedia staff who were legitimately carrying out their duties as journalists.

The three, Solomon Joojo Cobbinah, Festus Jackson Davies and Felix Akunnor were dutifully covering the story of the demolition exercise at Mensah Guinea, a slum at the heart of Accra when on the instruction of the former Mayor, the police assaulted them.

Alfred Vanderpuije claimed the filming of the women and children who had been left homeless as a result of the demolition exercise, was calculated to cause disaffection towards government.

Incensed by the assault, Multimedia brought a suit against the Mayor and the Police Service in 2015 and got a ruling in its favour.

The court held that "there was no legal or objectively reasonable justification for the suspicion that the reporters were committing an offence or were attempting to do so" by filming the demolition exercise and its ramification.

The Judge, Anthony K Yeboah further stated the action by the Mayor and police was "wrongful and unlawful...interference with the reporters' right to personal liberty, freedom of expression, right to information and right to enjoyment of the independence of the media."

He therefore, ordered the incumbent Coordinating Director of the AMA and the IGP to render separate apologies to the reporters within seven days and have their apologies published in the Daily Graphic newspaper to be given "special prominence."

The court awarded a cost of GHC5000 saying the apology, like a rejoinder, should take the place of damages.

As a result the IGP has written three separate letters of apology to the three Multimedia staff in compliance to the court's order.

The letter of apology written on March 23, 2017 and signed by Director General of Administration James Oppong-Boanuh on behalf of the IGP regretted the action and conduct of the police personnel.