You can’t charge me in absentia -Xavier-Sosu sues IGP
Veciferous Madina Member of Parliament and Human Rights Lawyer Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu has confirmed that he will be in court to answer the charges against him but insists it is lawful for everybody to resist illegal arrest adding that he will not bend any rule after defending many suspects in a competent court of justice.
He told the media on Wednesday November 17 in Parliament that he was out of the country during the two days that his case was called in court.
“I will be in court, I am still a lawyer and I go to court. I go to court representing people so if I have to be in court I will be in court
“Let me quickly serve a notice, even that criminal summons was made without due process and due regards to law. You cannot accuse a person if you have not heard from the person because you don’t charge people in absentia. So how you even came by an accusation and a charge is very fraudulent.”
‘Absentia’ means Xavier-Sosu is making a strong case that it’s not a due process to proffer criminal charges or issue criminal summons against him in his absence.
He added “If you want to arrest any ordinary citizen, not even a member of Parliament, you must tell the person the reason for the arrest. The Police never told me why they wanted to arrest me. The first attempt to arrest me they never provided any reason. Guess what, that failed and they attempted to arrest me a second time in church and the second attempt failed , that was the only time they came up with a press release ostensibly to now give a reason why they wanted to arrest me . That is not law enforcement.
He further admitted that he should have submitted himself to the Police “however we must be careful not to set wrong precedent. I have been human rights lawyer for the past eleven years and I have been at the forefront of talking about what must be lawful and what is unlawful. Police can arrest and there are basis and there is legal basis for arrest by the Police. Before you arrest a person you must have a suspicion or the crime might have been committed in front of you in your view.
“If you attempt to arrest somebody you should be telling the person for the arrest and reading out the right of the person to the person. If the police fails to do that that is unlawful arrest.”
The lawmaker failed to show up in court on Tuesday November 16 because he was still out of the jurisdiction on parliamentary duties.
Magistrate of the Court, Oheneba Kuffour citing another letter from Speaker Alban Bagbin noted that the Madina MP has not returned from his duties.
He however described some portions of the letter from parliament as confusing.
He cited the part of the letter which states, “I have been directed by the Rt. Hon. Speaker to bring to the attention of the Hon.
Court that the Hon. Member is attending at the proceedings of the 3rd Meeting of the first Session of the 8th Parliament, which commenced on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, and is also currently representing Parliament and the Country in a conference in the United States of America.”
Magistrate Kuffour was of the view that the letter created the impression Parliament was sitting in Ghana and abroad.
But reacting to the concern raised by the Magistrate, lead counsel of Francis Sosu, Victor Adawudu explained that it meant the MP was performing parliamentary duties.
“I’ve always insisted that Sosu is not a coward. If he has rights he will defend. We don’t see this as any matter that he will run away from,” Victor Adawudu intimated. He assured that the MP would show up in court once he returned.
The case was subsequently adjourned to 29th November, 2021
The Police had charged him for causing damage to public property.
The Director General, Public Affairs Directorate of the Police Service, ACP Kwasi Ofori, said on Wednesday November 3 that “The Police has obtained a criminal summons and has been duly served for him to appear in court on November 8…as we enumerated the charges includes obstructing the highway, causing damage to public property,” he said.
The Police had been seeking to arrest him for allegedly involving in a violent protests in his constituency.
The National Democratic Congress MP had led some of his constituents to embark on a demonstration against deplorable roads in his constituency.
The demonstration started peacefully at Danfa around 6:00am but later saw demonstrators burning tyres and mounting roadblocks on the Ayi Mensah-Danfa Road.
Sosu has however denied saying “That any allegation of the Police about my involvement in unlawful blockade of road and destruction of public property is false and an afterthought carefully manufactured by the police to shift attention of the people of Ghana from the key issues of bad roads raised by our protest and demonstration.”