Which steps must be followed for an arrest to be lawful?

A procedure is a set of actions that is the official or accepted way of doing something.

Procedure for lawful arrest therefore means the set of actions that is the official or accepted in order to carry out a lawful arrest. This means that, for an arrest to be made lawfully, it has to be done in accordance with the prescribed procedure.

If the arrest is proven to lack any form of arbitrariness or malice, as explained in the prevous sections, the next step would be to determine if the procedure for securing a lawful arrest has been followed.


Procedures for the arrest of a person

Below are the procedures for an arrest of a person who has been reasonably suspected to have committed, is committing or likely to commit a crime:

1.In making an arrest, the police officer or any arresting officer making the arrest shall touch or confine the body of the suspect, unless there is a submission to the custody by word or action as provided under section 4 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

2. The Police officer executing a warrant of arrest should inform the suspect to be arrested that there is a warrant for his arrest before making the arrest, unless he has reasonable cause for withholding the information. (For example, on the ground that the suspect is likely to occasion escape, resistance or rescue).

3.At the point of arrest, the suspect must be informed of his rights.

4.The suspect must be informed of the reason(s) for his arrest in the language he or she best understands. Any person who is arrested or detained shall have the right to remain silent or avoid answering any question until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any other person of their own choice.

5.Within 24 hours after their arrest, an arrested person must be given a written copy of the reasons for which they have been arrested in a language that they understand.

6.An arrested person must be charged with offense(s) for which they have been arrested

7. An arrested person must be taken before a court within 24 hours; and in circumstances in which the arrested person cannot taken within 24 hours (usually because they were arrested on a weekend or public holidays), then they should grant them police break (uness they have been accused of is a crime that attracts capital punishment). An arrested person can only be detained at a police cell, or a similar facility in a law enforcement agency, or the holding cell of a court. It will be illegal for them to be help for example in a private home, or office.

  • Here, the judge will formally state the charges against the arrested person the first time they enter the courthouse where they either plead guilty or not before they are tried in court.

  • The judge or magistrate can mandate for the accused person to be remanded in jail or may stipulate bail conditions.

  • The arrested person can make an application for bail at any point

Where the arrest  fails to comply with the provided procedures by law, the arrest would be said to be unlawful.

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