The courts in Ghana are to sit on weekends and public holidays to deal with issues that affect personal liberty, the Supreme Court has ruled in a unanimous decision.
The six-member panel, presided over by outgoing Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, ruled on Wednesday, 18 December 2019 that the 48 hours after which a suspect must necessarily be arraigned, must take effect from the second the person is arrested.
The other members of the six-member panel include Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Justice Sule Gbadegbe, Justice Alfred Benin and Justice Nii Ashie Kotei.
This brings to an end the practice where persons arrested during the weekends and on public holidays are kept beyond 48 hours in custody.
Private legal practitioner, Mr Martin Kpebu filed the suit against the Attorney General in the year 2016 over the 48-hour rule to determine whether security agencies in Ghana can out weekends and public holidays in calculating the 48-hour custody period.
Pronouncing the judgment, Ms Akuffo said: “The portions of the Holiday Act preventing such access to justice is unconstitutional.”
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is, therefore, to sensitise the police on the new ruling.
The order takes immediate effect, although the police have been given a six-month grace period to familiarise itself with the process.