Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis Xavier-Sosu has introduced a bill that will ensure the payment of the right compensation to persons who are unlawfully arrested, detained, or convicted.

The Private Members Bill, if passed will provide a legal regime for the compensation of persons who have been wrongfully arrested, detained and convicted, and give effect to clauses (5) and (7) of Article 14 of the 1992 Constitution.

The human rights lawyer, expressed concern that when a crime is committed, there are laid down penalty units provided for by law which prescribes the amount to be paid as a fine.

Xavier-Sosu introduces bill to secure compensation for victims of unlawful arrest, detention or conviction

However, there are no laid down law that caters for people who have been wrongfully arrested, detained and or convicted when they get the opportunity to seek redress for the wrongs done them by the state.

He further stated that the 1992 Constitution contemplated the need to compensate people who are wrongfully arrested, restrained or restricted.

Xavier-Sosu introduces bill to secure compensation for victims of unlawful arrest, detention or conviction

Citing several court rulings, Mr Xavier-Sosu indicated that the situation has given rise to compensations often left at the discretion of the court or judge, which he believes is unsatisfactory as compared to the kind of wrong suffered by the person due to the wrongful act committed by actors of the state agencies.

“There are several individuals who have been victims of wrongful arrests, malicious prosecution, unlawful detention and wrongful conviction who have been unable to access any compensation due to lack of very clear rules on the type of compensation they can be entitled to as a result of the wrong done to them”, excerpts of the MP’s proposal states.

Xavier-Sosu introduces bill to secure compensation for victims of unlawful arrest, detention or conviction

The Madina MP is therefore pushing for a Compensation Act that will clearly define what amounts to wrongful arrest, unlawful detention, malicious prosecution, and wrongful conviction.

He also wants the Act to provide a formula for calculating compensation units on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, and provide the circumstances under which a particular compensation must apply as against the already defined areas of compensation.

Xavier-Sosu introduces bill to secure compensation for victims of unlawful arrest, detention or conviction

Furthermore, the Act will together with other miscellaneous clauses provide for the sources of the compensation which will be the consolidated fund.

But with a provision that offending officials of state or agents of government; police, military, courts, and others who may be complicit in the violation would be surcharged with whatever compensation paid by the state to the person whose rights have been violated.

If successful, this will be the second Private Members Bill in the history of Parliament to be passed.