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21.07.2005 Crime & Punishment

Court orders the arrest of Christ Asher

Court orders the arrest of Christ Asher

Accra, July 21, GNA - An Accra High Court on Thursday granted an application of mandamus against the Inspector-General of Police, Director Prisons and the Attorney - General and subsequently ordered the arrest of Chris Asher, a legal practitioner.

Mr Nathaniel Myerce of the Legal Aid Board, Solicitor for Ms Matilda Ofori Atta, Applicant/Plaintiff, filed a writ at the High Court seeking the arrest and prosecution of Asher, for allegedly murdering her father, Ofori Katipie in 1982 at Akim Oda in the Eastern Region. Ms Cynthia Lamptey, Principal State Attorney for the Respondent/Defendants, did not oppose the application. The Court presided over by Mr Justice Anthony K. Abada did not fix a date for hearing.

The Greater Accra Branch of Legal Aid Board of Ghana filed the ex-parte motion last month on behalf of Ms Atta.

The applicant stated in the writ that Asher, then an Akim Oda-based lawyer, was remanded in prison custody for the murder her father, Ofori Katipie and was indicted by the Akim Oda Magistrate's Court to stand trial for the murder.

The applicant stated that Asher was remanded in the Nsawam Prison pending trial for the murder, but he escaped from prison, while in lawful custody of the Director of Prisons.

Asher went to reside in London and the US and recently came to the country to give evidence before the National Reconciliation Commission. He has since become a frequent visitor to the country.

In a supplementary notice, the applicant, who applied for an order of Mandamus, explained that the word was "a relief available to an applicant to seek an order to compel a person to perform a statutory duty".

The applicant further explained that "within the field of public law the scope of Mandamus is still wide and the court may use it freely to prevent breach of duty and justice".

It said it was an offence as provided under Section 226 of ACT 29 to escape from lawful custody.

The applicant stated that from Article 202, the IGP was the head of the Police Service and he was responsible for the operational control and administration of the Police Service.

It said under Section 1(1) of the Prisons Service Decree NRCD 46, the statutory duty of the Second Respondent, who is the Director of Prisons, included ensuring the safe custody and welfare of prisoners and whenever practicable to undertake the reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners.

According to the applicant, by Article 88(3) the Attorney - General was responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecutions of criminal offences.