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Opinions of Sunday, 5 June 2016

Columnist: Rodney Nkrumah-Boateng

Death In Krofrom: Kofi Boakye's posture surprises me

The principle of taking your victim as you find him is well-established in law. In the English case of R v Blaue [1975], the defendant stabbed his victim, who in hospital refused blood transfusion because of her faith as a Jehovah’s witness. She died. The court held him liable for the death even though the evidence was clear she would have lived had she accepted the transfusion. His argument that it was her refusal of transmission which caused her death was rejected by the court.

The fact that he did not know, and could not have known, of her religious faith was irrelevant. It is called ‘the thin skull rule’. In other words, if you have an exceptionally thin skull I do not know of and I hit you with even minimal force and you are injured or die (when normal-skulled people will survive), I am liable. Prof. Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu has written extensively on this, I gather .

The Krofrom guy may well have had a pre-existing heart condition. Perhaps if he didn’t, he would have survived the police assault. But it is irrelevant that the police did not know or could not have known he had a heart condition.

I believe that as a matter of law causation of his death lies squarely at the feet of the police.

I hope the Attorney-General’s Department will mount a rigorous criminal prosecution of the cowardly rogue policemen involved.

Such nonsense ought not be tolerated in this country.