Let’s record police caution statements – Legal Practitioner

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Mr George Bernard Shaw, a Private Legal Practitioner, has called on stakeholders in the criminal justice system to consider the inclusion of recordings of police interrogations, especially when acquiring caution statements.

He said the call, by extension, was to the Rules of Court Committee and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that all interrogations were recorded at least with a mobile phone, since it was common and every police station could have one, as demanded by the Service instructions.

Mr Shaw, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said; “We are not asking for much because in most jurisdictions the interviews are recorded because that’s the only way to get to the truth as everything will be on tape.”

The Legal Practitioner, who is also a Counsel in the matter involving the 14 alleged murderers of the late Major Maxwell Mahama verses the Republic, made the call ahead of a mini trial of the case.

The mini trial came about as a result of objections from the Defence Counsel to the tendering of some caution and charge statements taken from the accused persons.

The Court has called four witnesses to determine whether the statements were obtained voluntarily from the accused persons or not.

Mr Shaw said though it might be administratively or financially expensive, at the current stage of the country’s development, mobile phones could be used to record before sophisticated recording instruments were purchased.

He said the Act that governed criminal trials, (Act 30) could be amended to ensure that all police interviews were recorded to establish the truth.

Mr Shaw said in cases such as beatings, cuts, and bruises, the marks sometimes disappeared before the cases were heard, with many not having medical reports.

“…But in effect, the police will come and deny sometimes when people have been beaten mercilessly and even starve them to confess, a confession statement is taken into account for the trial and that invariably leads to injustice,” Mr Shaw said.

He said the main challenge was the admission of such false statements into evidence for trial

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