The Legal Right Of Lawyers To Represent Arrested Persons At The Police Stations In Nigeria By Israel Lagbamue Esq

0

It is common news on different social media concerning Police intimidation and assault on lawyers that came to represent arrested persons at police stations and they are sometimes chased away from police stations.
It is most unfortunate for police officers who are supposed to know the laws and to enforce same in accordance with the rules provided by such laws will quickly inform a lawyer who appears at police stations on behalf of an arrested person to go wait in court pending final investigation and arraignment.
It is therefore important and necessary to educate and inform members of the police force and Nigerians on the legal right of lawyers to be giving audience at the police stations.
Though Section 3 of the Police Act established for Nigeria a Police force to be known as theNigerian Police Force with the duties to prevent, detect and to prevent crimes and also to apprehend (arrest) offenders and further to preserve law and order among other duties as provided in Section 4 of the same Police Act.
The police in the exercise of the power to detect and apprehend offenders has the power to detain any person that is said to have reasonably suspected of committing a crime but the exercise of this power must be exercise in accordance with the provisions of not only the constitution but also of every other laws in force for the time being in Nigeria.
Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended have several provisions that tends to preserve the right of an arrested person to engage a legal practitioner of his choice particularly Section 36(6) C of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended provides that, every person who is charged with criminal offence shall be entitled to defend himself in person or by legal practitioners of his own choice
Section 36 (6) C of the 1999 Constitution as amended expressly laid foundation for the right of an arrested person to be entitled to be represented by a legal practitioner of his choice and further there are provisions in the Administration of the Criminal Justice laws of different states in the Federation that also preserve the right of arrested persons to legal practitioners of their choice.
The Administration of Criminal Justice laws are the principal enactments of different states that seek to regulate Criminal Justice administration in the state’s concern.
Section 3(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2011 of Lagos state Provides that, except where the person arrested is in the actual course of the commission of a crime or is pursued immediately after the commission of a crime or escape from lawful custody the police officer or other person making the arrest shall inform the person arrested of the cause of the arrest.
Further Subsection 2 of the same section provides that, the police officer or the person making the arrest or the police officer in charge of a police station or any law enforcement agency officer shall inform the person arrested of his rights to-
remain silent or avoid answering any question until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any person of his choice.
Consult a counsel of his choice before making or writing any statement or answering any questing put to him after arrest.
Refuse to answer any question or make or endorse statement.
And subsection 3 of the same Section 3 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2011 of Lagos state further Provides that, the police officer or the person making the arrest shall inform the person arrested that he may apply for free legal representation from the office of the public defender, legal Aid council or any such agency.
In addition Section 9(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2011 of Lagos state also provides that, any person who is arrested whether with or without a warrant shall be taken with reasonable dispatch to a police station or other place for the reception of arrested person and shall without delay be informed of the charge against him.
And Subsection 2 of same Section 9 Provides that, the person who is arrested under subsection (1) of this Section while in custody shall be given reasonable facilities for obtaining legal advice, take steps to furnish bail and otherwise make arrangement for his defence or release
By the combine Provisions of the Constitution and that of the Administration of Criminal Justice law of Lagos State cited above conferred on a legal practitioner the legal right to appear and be giving audience once engaged or who elect to represent an arrested person at any police stations in Nigeria.
The above Provisions of law presupposes that a person arrested by the police is entitle to legal practitioner of his choice hence a legal practitioner that appear at any police station seeking to represent such arrested person has the legal right to so enter appearance at the said police station and be accorded the right and privilege of a legal practitioner acting for the arrested person.
It is therefore important for police officers to be informed and be advised that any act to deny a legal practitioner the right to enter appearance and be giving audience at the police station is a gross violation of not only the provision of the constitution but also of the administration of criminal justice laws.
By Israel Lagbamue Esq. the Principal Partner of Lagbamue, Lagbamue & Associates, [email protected] , 08027114544
The post The Legal Right Of Lawyers To Represent Arrested Persons At The Police Stations In Nigeria By Israel Lagbamue Esq appeared first on TheNigerialawyer.