‘Punishment under Imposition of Restrictive Act disproportionate’

Dr Kwadwo Tuffour, Criminal law lecturer and Head of the Private Law Department of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Faculty of Law, has observed that the punishment prescribed in the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012) as passed by Parliament and assented to by the President are excessive and disproportionate.

He explained that custodial sentence of not less than four years and not more than 10 years was totally excessive disproportional to the offence and contended that “the issue that we have to concern ourselves with is the punishment that the Statute prescribes because anytime you have the imposition of restrictions, and in this case via Act 1012, the State is essentially derogating from compliance with the civil and political rights of the citizenry.”

Dr Tuffour made the observation when he delivered via Zoom, the third lecture of the two-week-long ‘Law and Ethics Web Series’, under the theme: ‘COVID-19 and New Crime Trends’.

The online seminar was organised jointly by the African Centre on Law and Ethics (ACLE) and the African Centre of International Criminal Justice (ACICJ), both based at the GIMPA Faculty of Law.

The main provision in Act 1012 that Dr Tuffour picked issue with was section six of the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012) which states: “A person who fails to comply with a restriction imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection (1) of section 2 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 1,000 penalty units and not more than 5,000 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than four years and not more than 10 years or to both.”

He noted that to make it crime of magnitude where minimum punishment was four years and maximum 10 years, was just extreme since it was a law that had got good motive but punishment attached to it in terms of its criminality was excessive.

As an alternative to the custodial sentence in the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012), Dr. Tuffour suggested that “lawmakers in the country should consider passing community service law that will empower judges to sentence offenders of Restrictions Act to engage in community service or be placed on probation for a specified period of time.” .-kasapafmonline.com

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