Laws of Arrest and Detention (Know your rights and limitations)
SOURCE: ALFRED MASSAQUOI
Opinion on the above is Back Again
Opinion on the above is Back Again









I halted yesterday’s Opinion edition for this Opinion entitled: “Is the Security Boss right to threaten draconian measures on Journalists?” Briefly, I said this in that article: “I think the Security Boss was warning against criminal libel, and I also think the Security Boss might go overboard should he threaten or in effect execute draconian controls over the press.”  See the full feature in today’s INSIGHT. I wanted my readers to judge for themselves on the topic. I provided readers researched info on what criminal libel and press freedom mean? Today’s edition is a continuation of our previous studies on the Laws of  Arrest and Detention. Firstly, let me summarize to help your minds recap some of the things we LEARNED in last Thursday’s edition.  Summary of last studies on the Laws of Arrest and Detention An arrest may be made anywhere within the jurisdiction of the Republic.  If the charged offense is a felony, arrest can be made on any day, time or night, but arrest cannot be done at night in the case of a misdemeanor or an infraction unless endorsed upon a writ of arrest. An exception to this, is when the offense is committed in the presence of the arresting officer.  There is an appearance before the court upon an arrest under a Warrant/Writ, where the officer making it takes the person arrested before a court designated in the warrant within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Without a Warrant/Writ the officer making an arrest takes the arrested person before the nearest available magistrate or justice of the peace.   At the request of the prosecuting attorney, any unexecuted warrant shall be returned to the court which issued it and same shall be cancelled. We  learned also that summons can be issued in lieu of writ of arrest in that a court instead may issue a summons if there is a reason to believe that the person charged with an offense will appear in response thereto, but if the person fails to attend the summons or there is a reasonable reason to believe that he will fail to appear in answer to a summons, he may be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars.  Detention We learned under Detention what an inmate, prisoner, detainee and prisoners rights refer to. We said investigative detention involves the holding of a suspect without a formal arrest warrant being issued, during the investigation of the suspect’s participation in a crime. Detention of this kind is constitutional only if probable cause exists. Under the Liberian law a suspect cannot be held in investigative detention for more than 48 hours without being formally charged and brought before a court of competent jurisdiction. We learned also that Pretrial detention is the holding of a defendant before trial on a criminal charge either because bail is not allowed as a matter of right, or the defendant could not post the required bail, or because release was denied by the court before which the case is venued. Also, we learned that the Constitution of Liberia at Article 21 (f) expressly forbids preventive detention.  Today’s discussion begins: -Detention We will consider firstly three types of detention. The Ministry of Justice under section 34.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law maintains all legal detention institutions such as Maximum-security prisons for aggressive or dangerous offenders who present a serious escape risk. The Ministry of Justice has under its jurisdiction also Medium-security prisons for offenders of less aggressive or dangerous tendencies who offer less serious escape risks; and Minimum-security institutions, to include work camps & farms, for offenders who are not aggressive or dangerous and who offer little or no risk of escape. The others are as follows: Reformatories or vocational training schools or camps for young offenders; Hospitals for chronically ill prisoners; Institutions for the treatment of psychopaths, mental defectives, narcotic addicts, alcoholics, & other persons requiring psychiatric treatment. More, jails for detention of persons charged with crime and committed for hearing or trial, with separate quarters for detention of persons under twenty-one (21); Jails for the detention of persons committed to secure their attendance as witnesses, and for other detentions authorized by law. To be continued

 
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