Former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has described as lame and empty the justification by government for the detention of #FixTheCountry Movement lead convener for over 48 hours after his arrest on February 11, 2022.

Oliver Barker-Vormawor was arrested on February 11, 2022, but was put before the Ashaiman District Court on Monday, February 14, which meant that the Police had detained him for more than 48 hours.

According to the Police, they reached out between February 12 to February 13 to the Chief Justice, hoping to get a court to hear the matter, but all efforts proved futile, thus the reason for Barker-Vormawor’s detention for more than 48 hours.

But Martin Amidu reacting to the matter, said the justification by the Police is “lame” and “frivolous.”

“There is no rational constitutional justification for the conduct of government in the manner it executed the persecution of the suspect as the executive branch has consistently sought to justify to the public,” he noted.

He said the Police acted unlawfully and contravention of article 14 (3) (b) of the 1992 constitution.

The former Deputy Attorney General explained that the Police did not need the Chief Justice or a court to exercise the discretion to grant him police enquiry bail once they had taken his statement and he had exercised his right to a lawyer of his choice upon his initial charge of offensive conduct conducive to breaches of the peace.

“On the other hand, if government and the police had received further information and facts with which they had reasonable changed grounds for the continued arrest, restriction or detention of Mr Barker-Vormawor, without informing him of the changed reasons and his right to a lawyer of his choice, the contention that he was not brought before a court within forty-eight hours of his original arrest or detention because of lack of a court during the weekend is vacuous,” he added.

Martin Amidu has also disagreed with the Treason Felony charge against the Social Activist.

He noted that after a careful reading of the supposed Facebook coup comments, they cannot be measured to the treason charge against Barker-Vormawor.

“It is my considered view that the two contradictory and ambiguous Facebook comments taken separately or together do not measure up to the basic ingredients of the provisional charge of the indictable offence of treason felony for which he was ‘cynically’ and surprisingly brought before an inferior court without powers of bail on 14 February 2022, and for which he is still in police custody on remand,” he said.

Barker-Vormawor’s arrest and subsequent happenings

Oliver Barker-Vormawor has been in Police custody since he was arrested on the evening of February 11, 2022, over coup comments on his Facebook page. The arrest took place immediately after he arrived from the United Kingdom.

In a press release, the Police explained that his arrest followed “a post he allegedly made on a social media platform to the effect that he would stage a coup himself if the E-Levy Bill is passed by Parliament.”

Subsequently, he was charged with treason felony, an offence provided for in section 182(b) of Ghana’s Criminal offences Act after the Police had initially charged him with offensive conduct conducive to breaches of the peace.

Counsel for Barker-Vormawor, Mr Akoto Ampaw, described the Treason Felony charge as ‘cynical’ and expressed shock over the fresh charges against his client.

Appearing in Court on Monday, February 14, the judge hearing the matter, Eleanor Barnes, remanded Barker-Vormawor into Police custody, pointing out that the nature and severity of the crime meant the Court cannot grant bail.

His lawyers later filed a suit at the Supreme Court, challenging his arraignment before the district court.

They wanted the Court to determine whether the Police have discharged their constitutional duty by sending their client to a court with no jurisdiction to consider a bail application.

According to them, the ruling of the High Court ‘B’, Tema, dated February 17, 2022, entails a grave error of law which error is patent on the face of the record.

But the Supreme Court, on March 2, struck out the application filed by lawyers for Oliver Barker-Vormawor.

This was after the Court had questioned the processes filed by the lawyers, saying it does not properly invoke the jurisdiction of the Court.

According to JoyNews’ Joseph Ackah-Blay, lawyers for the youth activist then informed the Court they wanted to withdraw the case.