Human Interest

Police has no right to arrest suspect before investigation, court rules

A Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State on Tuesday told the police that it had no right to arrest any suspect until after its investigation.
This was coming pursuant to a fundamental human right matter brought before the court by a lawyer, Mr Ndubuisi Onyeakpa.
The lawyer had in the matter alleged that no fewer than 20 police men had scaled the wall and invaded his house at about 2am.
He said his offence was that he was the lawyer of a section of his community on a land matter which the police had warned him to hands off.
He maintained that as a lawyer he had the legal right to defend any person that sought his services.
Onyeakpa had therefore approached the court to stop the police from harassing and intimidating him, which it granted.
But the police had in a resumed hearing on Tuesday before Justice I N Uwaigbo asked the court to vacate its order, arguing that there were suppression of materials when the order was granted
Onwuka contended that no court had the right to restrain the police from investigating any citizen on any crime.
He said, “any person invited by the police is obliged by law to come for investigation and that was what the police did in the case of Onyeakpa.
He therefore asked the court to vacate its interim order on the arrest of Onyeakpa in the interest of justice.
The counsel to Onyeakpa, Mr Zokas Aniazoka in a preliminary objection to the police motion submitted that the environment that warranted the interim order was still there, stressing that to vacate the order would amount to giving the police an undeserved freedom to harass and intimidate his client.
Aniazoka said the murder case in which Onyeakpa was purportedly being investigated was of no moment any longer as police postmortem had declared that the victim died of a natural cause.
He maintained that there was no suppression of facts of any kind when the interim order was sought and granted by the court.
According to Aniazoka, it was settled law that the police had no powers to arrest anybody before investigating the person.
He therefore urged the court to discountenance the police motion adding that granting them the motion could amount to glorifying impunity.
After listening to the counsel, Justice Uwaigbo in his ruling agreed with the applicant’s lawyer (Aniazoka) that the police had no right to arrest anybody before investigation.
It therefore refused to vacate its earlier motion on the matter.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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