Rights of an accused person at the Police station/My rights after arrest

Anyone whether innocent or criminal can be arrested or invited to the police station of one matter or the other.  When a person is taken to a police station for the commission of an alleged offence or on reasonable suspicion of being about to commit a crime, he is entitled to the following rights under the constitution and other subsidiary legislation, presently in force:

  1. Right to bail – the right of a suspect to bail is a constitutional right fully guaranteed,[1] which provides that a suspect is entitled to be released with or without conditions, even if further proceedings may be brought against him, within a period of a day or two days of his arrest and detention, as the case may be.
  2. Right To Private Legal Advice – An accused person or a suspect, who is under arrest or detention, has a right to counsel guaranteed[2] while under arrest or being held at the Police station. The section provides: The import of this provision is that an accused person is at liberty to insist on talking to a lawyer before making a statement or being subjected to interrogation at the Police Station. It is therefore illegal for the Police to compel an accused or suspect to talk or make any statement, against his wish to consult a lawyer first, before doing so.
  • Such a person shall have the right to remain silent or avoid answering a question until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any other person of his own choice.
  1. He has the right not to be arrested by use of excessive force – The police have no right to beat any person and using reasonable force. To enforce compliance does not include pummeling (striking repeatedly with the fists) a person into a pulp especially when the suspect is not resisting arrest or after arrest.
  2. He has the right to be notified of the cause of arrest – Unwarranted and unnecessary detentions run contrary to the ideals of the Fundamental Rights provisions in Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution.
  3. He has the right to be taken to a police station – A suspect should be taken to a police station and the police have no right to deny a suspect access to his/her lawyer at all times.
  • He has the right to be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time – Every detention beyond 24 hours must be authorized by a court of law.
  • A suspect can only be tried for an offence known to law – The offence must be defined by legislation prohibiting it and punishment thereof specified therein; and the offence must be so constituted at the time of the commission of the alleged offence.


[1] Section 35(4) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution

[2] Section 35(2) of the 1999 Constitution,