‘Unlawful’ arrest of Dr Ani over NDC branded cars could cost Ghana – lawyer

file photoErudite legal practitioner, Ace Annan Ankoma, says the Managing Director of Marbles & Granites, Edmund Ayo Ani, could sue the State for compensation because his arrest is “unlawful”.

Dr Ani was arrested Friday for allegedly taking photos of about 50 Mahindra vehicles which were being branded with campaign stickers of President John Dramani Mahama at a private property in Accra.

National Security Advisor, Alhaji Baba Kamara, whose property the vehicles were  being branded, ordered the Bureau of National Investigations to arrest Dr Ani because the angle from which the photos were taken suggest it was from Dr Ani’s building.

But Mr Ankoma has explained there is no criminality whatsoever in the taking of the photos in the absence of a specific legislation baring anyone from taking photos of a specific place, saying “in the absence of legislation that specifically bars the taking of photographs of or at a specific place, taking pictures, or allowing another person to take pictures, is not a criminal offence”.

In a Facebook post titled: “They Goof, We Pay”, Mr Ankoma argues if taking unauthorised photos was a criminal offence, then Ghana’s investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas would have by now been in jail.

“And, if, as Article 19(11) of the Constitution provides, a person cannot be convicted for a non-existent criminal offence, then surely, a person cannot even be arrested for a non-existent criminal offence,” he said.

Mr Ankomah added: “The arrest was unlawful. Clearly, the National Security Adviser decided to use his office and power, and the state machinery at his disposal to vent his spleen on his neighbour and to show him where power lies.”

In view of the wrongful arrest and detention, Mr Ankomah says Dr Ani could seek various damages for the breach of his constitutional right to personal liberty, unlawful arrest, and false imprisonment.

“The court may also award aggravated/exemplary/punitive damages, which are damages on an increased scale, where the wrong done was aggravated by factors such as the wanton or reckless acts of another,” he said

He, however, pointed out that publishing photos of a person without that person’s consent is not a wrongful act, noting it could only be a breach of that person’s constitutional right to privacy which would only warrant a civil action.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|tv3network.com|Ghana
Twitter @steviekgh

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