July 10, 2024 10:20 pm

Prof. Asare takes on Dampare over abuse of Criminal Code in recent ‘revenge arrests’

A D&D Fellow in Public Law and Justice at CDD-Ghana, Professor Kweku Asare has called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to stop the abuse and misuse of Section 207 and 208 of the Criminal Code, 1960 (Act 29).

According to him, the application of the provisions of the Act 29, has in recent times been abused and misused to the benefit of “big men” in society.

In a letter to JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, he said, “Ghana Police, prosecutors and judges have their own purposive application and interpretation of Section 208. To them, if a journalist falsely claims that a politician has corruptly acquired state lands then he’s throwing the public into fear and panic.

“How many people will reasonably be in fear or panic on hearing that a politician has corruptly acquired state lands? Something that we have heard almost every week since March 6, 1957.”

He added that, “the argument that such false information could lead to acts of revenge and disturb the public order, is one that common law politics have considered and rejected by decoupling libel and public order.”

According to him, the appropriate path to seeking remedy to false information that potentially injures the reputation of others, is through civil processes and not the criminal codes.

“The problem is that the Police are merely criminalizing libel which we decriminalised in 2001,” he said.

He bemoaned the fact that the Attorney-General and the Judiciary have looked on while such abuse and misuse of the Criminal Code for personal revenge, prevails.

“The Attorney-General allows them to and the judges have not found any anti-speech prosecution that they did not like. To them, an injury to the reputation of a ‘big man’ is not just a private injury but also an offence against the people, public good, and the state itself; for which state resources must be deployed to seek criminal punishment for the cantankerous journalist,” he said.

“IGP Dampare should stop the abuse and misuse of sections 207 and 208,” he concluded.

Source: Myjoyonline

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