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Court slaps Ghana Police Service with ¢320,000 over shooting of three

A Cape Coast High Court hasslapped the Ghana Police Service with a ¢320,000 fine for the negligence of its officers over the shooting of three persons in a taxi cab.

The officers who were pursuing some goat thieves from Twifo Praso fired into the car of the thieves, strayed and also fired into a moving taxi that carried a couple and their daughter.

The gun hit and killed the woman, Josephine Owusuaa Aboagye, caused injuries to her husband Aboagye Okyere and a student who was on her way to school.

According to the plaintiffs, on the 10thof January 2019 at about 6:30 am, they were on board a taxi cab from Ankaful Junction in Cape Coast when they were shot at by personnel of the Ghana Police Service who said they were chasing robbers from Twifo Praso.

The bullet of the police strayed and hit Mary Aboagye who later died at the hospital, hit her husband and also hit one Cecilia Mensah, who was on her way to school.

Some bystanders rescued the victims and sent them to the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital where Mary Aboagye was pronounced dead. The other two victims, Cecilia Mensah and her father sustained varying degrees of injuries as a result of the bullet they received.

The defendants, the Ghana Police Service told the court it deployed five policemen from various police stations in the Central Region for police patrol duty at Darmang near Twifo Praso. Whilst on patrols, they had information that there was a BMW saloon car with four [4] occupants suspected to be driving recklessly. A few minutes later, the said BMW car approached the patrol team. The team signaled the driver to stop. However, he ignored the signals and sped off, nearly knocking down the policemen.

The team noticed that the passenger on the front seat was holding an AK 47 riffle. Accordingly, they notified all the police barriers from Twifo Praso to Cape Coast and proceeded to chase the said BMW car.

On the outskirts of Jukwa Senior High School, the suspected robbers then began firing at the police patrol vehicle with AK 47 rifle leaving the police no choice than to return fire.

A search conducted in the car revealed six [6] live goats, one [1] live sheep and five [5] dead goats. They arrested the suspected robbers and sent them with the animals found in the car to the regional headquarters in Cape Coast where they made a situational report to their officers.

Justice Kwasi Boakye explained that the judgment of the court was not meant to intimidate and lower the morale of the crime-fighting institutions in the country such as the Ghana Police and urged the Inspector General of the Ghana Police Service (IGP) to take proactive steps to quote ‘damparise’ the Ghana Police Service.

He noted that there was a dire need to undertake a complete overhaul or re-engineer the service as far as its professional training needs and competence are concerned. He made reference to a similar incident where some armed policemen in broad day, shot into an unregistered saloon car at Tamale, resulting in the death of one [1] of the occupants whereas the others sustained various degrees of injuries.

He consequently awarded the 1stplaintiff, the sum of One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC150,000.00) lump sum as compensation and ordered the defendants to pay same having considered the following heads: future loss of earnings, nursing attendants, loss of amenities, loss of expectation of life and disability.

For Cecilia Mensah, the 3rdplaintiff, a student of Academy of Christ The King SHS, the judge assessed compensation payable at Sixty Thousand Ghana and ordered the defendants to pay same.

He also further awarded a lump sum payment of One Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC100,000.00) to the estates of the deceased because her family member, Josephine Okyere, sued as a dependent of Mary Aboagye.

The court assessed cost at Ten Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC10,000.00) in favour of the plaintiffs and against the defendants.