Court faults BNI’s conduct over suspect interrogation

Sammy CrabbeA Human Rights Court in Accra has ruled it is unconstitutional for the Bureau of National Investigations to interrogate suspects without their lawyers.

The court presided over by Justice Peter Derry gave the verdict on Tuesday in its ruling in favour of the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Mr Sammy Crabbe, who sued the BNI for abuse of his rights when he was questioned on a wide range of issues in the absence of his legal counsel.

Lawyers for Mr Crabbe argued that their client had been questioned on issues relating to the Ghana International Airline but this was done in their absence.

This, according to the lawyers, amounted to the abuse of the human rights of their client.

The court upheld their argument and ruled that the BNI cannot interrogate a person in the absence of the lawyers of the individual.

The court said the seizure of a mobile phone from Mr Crabbe and his transfer from one office of the BNI to another amounted to an arrest. Under that circumstance, the court said, Mr Crabbe was arrested and was therefore entitled under Ghana’s laws to counsel while he was being questioned.

Counsel for the plaintiff, Kwame Boateng told Joy News’ Sammy Darko the ruling was good for all citizens of Ghana.

He said henceforth, any person who at any point in time is invited by any security agency would be allowed access to his or her counsel.