The Inspector General of Police (IGP) and three others have been slapped with damages in the total sum of GHc253,709 as compensation to a father of four who was assaulted by a police officer which led to his “inability to have an erection.”
This was after the High Court in Accra presided over by Justice Kwasi Adjenin-Boateng held that the police officer applied “unreasonable force” in arresting the Plaintiff.
Isaac Manu, a Welder was arrested in 2016 upon suspicion by his former employer of having stolen the KIA Sportage car.
The Plaintiff on May 31, 2019, issued a Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim against the Defendants – which also included the Attorney General, one Vivian Adeoku, Matthew Adrah, and Kwesi Asare.
In his writ, he asked the court for General damages for assault, Special damages for all medical expenses incurred by the Plaintiff as a result of the assault, Compensation for the psychological trauma suffered by the Plaintiff, and Compensation for loss of earnings from October 22, 2016, to date of final payment.
He also sought Compensation for loss of livelihood and aggravated damages for assault leading to Plaintiff’s inability to have erection and Costs.
The Plaintiff was represented by Richmond Korley Esq while Gideon Agyapong Sabeng, Assistant State Attorney, represented the defendants.
It was the case of the Plaintiff that he is a welder and a father of four and he used to work in the 5th Defendant’s (Kwesi Asabre) workshop at Kasoa but stopped working there in October, 2016 as a result of a misunderstanding.
He said that on October 22, 2016, he was driving a KIA Sportage car with his son when Asabre (his former boss) also driving a car signaled him to stop which he did and parked his car beside the road.
According to the Plaintiff, Asabre (5th Defendant) also parked his car but observed that the 4th Defendant (Matthew Adrah) and a man in mufti emerged from the Asabre’s car and without uttering a word to the Plaintiff “started beating him whilst referring to him as a thief.”
The Plaintiff averred when he asked about what he had stolen, he was not told but they continued to beat him and hit his face with handcuffs resulting in deep cuts at the Plaintiff’s chin, lower lip, and forehead and injury to his left eye and his shirt stained with blood from the cuts he sustained.
The plaintiff further stated that Matthew Adrah (4th Defendant) handcuffed him whilst he was still bleeding and later took him to the Kasoa Police Station in Asabre’s car.
He added that when the counter officer on duty at the said police station enquired from Asabre and the other man what the Plaintiff had done, they responded that the Plaintiff had stolen KIA Sportage car.
The Plaintiff told the Court that it was at the Police station where he got to know the crime he was accused of and for which reason he had been beaten.
He also said, the Counter Officer told Asabre to take him to the hospital, where the wounds were stitched to stop the bleeding.
The Plaintiff stated that a day after the incident, October 23, 2016, he reported at the Kasoa Police Station where a meeting was held among the Plaintiff, the station officer, Vivian Adeoku (3rd Defendant), Adrah, and Asabre during which the Station Officer informed the Plaintiff that Asabre complained that the Plaintiff broke into his workshop and stole a KIA Sportage car.
But, Asabre he said, denied making a report of stealing but rather reported that the Plaintiff owed him GHC600.00.
The Plaintiff said he subsequently went to the Lapaz Community Hospital where his left eye was examined and he was given medication but he could still not see with the left eye.
He said, the doctor informed him that his left eye was permanently damaged and he also had blood in his urine.
The Plaintiff again said he went to Agogo Presby Hospital in the Ashanti Region for a second opinion on the condition of his left eye.
After a medical examination at Agogo, he said he was transferred to the Emmanuel Eye Clinic in Accra, from where he was again referred to Saint Thomas Eye Clinic.
After examination at Saint Thomas Eye Clinic, he said surgery was prescribed but he could not afford the surgery.
He stated that he later underwent a fresh medical examination at Saint Thomas Eye Clinic and the report stated that two surgeries could restore partial sight to his left eye.
According to him, surgeries were performed on the left eye but he is still having difficulties with his sight and it is affecting his right eye.
It is the case of the Plaintiff that he has not been able to have an erection after the beating suffered at the hands of the Adrah Defendant.
The plaintiff stated that after the beatings, he had collapsed on more than two occasions and also had not been able to work since October 22, 2016 and that he had spent his entire life savings and borrowed huge sums for his medical treatment.
Minimal reasonable force:
It was the case of the 1st to 4th Defendants that Adrah with a civilian employee attempted to arrest the Plaintiff after informing the Plaintiff that he was under arrest.
According to the Defendants, in resisting lawful arrest by the Adrah the Plaintiff became very “violent and a scuffle ensued.”
The Adrah (4th Defendant) was mindful of his duty to exercise minimal reasonable force in effecting an arrest, and exercising this minimum force enabled the Plaintiff to overcome the Adrah subsequently throwing him onto the ground.
The Defendants argued that, as a police civilian employee, John Mensah Sarbah came to Adrah’s aid by separating the Plaintiff from the 4th Defendant, and in the process the Plaintiff bit the right thigh of the said civilian employee.
They contended that the Plaintiff suffered a minor injury of a bruise over his left eye and was treated and discharged.
The Defendants again stated the injury was a result of the 4th Defendant’s lawful use of force for the prevention or defence against the criminal offence of unlawful resistance of lawful arrest by the Plaintiff.
According to the Defendants, the Plaintiff was subsequently given a police Medical Report Form to be presented to any government hospital, and the report was returned to the Kasoa Police but the Plaintiff rather returned the said form to PIPS instead of to the Kasoa police.
In the said report, the Plaintiff was diagnosed as having a traumatic eye condition and he was treated and discharged, the said condition was said to be improving when the Plaintiff went for further review and therefore the Plaintiff’s claims and reliefs are unwarranted, baseless, and unfounded.
The defendant concluded that the 3’d Defendant was not present and did not take part in the arrest of the Plaintiff and the ensuing scuffle that resulted due to the plaintiff’s resistance
Justice Adjenin-Boateng in his judgment said, it is the considered view of the court that Matthew Adrah (4th Defendant), as a police officer is entitled to use reasonable force to effect the arrest of suspects including the Plaintiff herein.
However, “it is my considered view and I so find that in the instant case the force used by the 4th Defendant to effect the arrest of the Plaintiff was unreasonable and accordingly the Plaintiff is entitled to judgment.
The Court entered judgment for the Plaintiff as follows; General damages GHC10,000.00, Special damages GH¢43,709.00, Damages for loss of livelihood and pain and suffering and psychological trauma (Compensation) GHC200,000.00.
The Court also awarded a cost of GHc20,000 against the Attorney General, IGP, and Matthew Adrah (1st, 2nd, and 4th Defendant), jointly and severally in favour of the Plaintiff.
Meanwhile, the court awarded the cost of GHc5,000,00 against Plaintiff in favour of Vivian Adeoku, (3rd Defendant).