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Defying Covid-19 lockdown directive, criminal law is not the answer - Kofi Abotsi 

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
Kofi Abotsi
Kofi Abotsi
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Former Dean of GIMPA law school and private legal practitioner, Kofi Abotsi says criminal law and police brutalities are not the answer to prevent people from defying the Covid-19 lockdown directive.

Most people have been reported to be defying the lockdown directive which is aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19 and also carry out enhanced contact tracing in Kasoa, Tema, Accra and Kumasi.

President Akufo-Addo on Thursday extended the lockdown by a week.

Police have also arraigned some culprits. But speaking on the development and legal implications of defying the lockdown directive Kofi Abotsi said there are a lot of issues that currently will not allow for the law to be effective during this period.

"It is important for us to remember that in certain circumstance there is a law that is passed to restricting people's movement, now if this law is violated and it's violated in mass..., We have a number of people out there as we are being told violating the law, the criminal justice system is going to be compromised and challenged, already our prisons are over full, the police stations do not have enough holding cell capacity..."

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Kofi Abotsi said due to the huge number of violation it will be difficult for the criminal justice system to work. He explained that the criminal law is very effective when there are few violations.

"We get to a point where the criminal justice system cannot contain the number of violation if you have mass violations of a particular law and that is why it is important at this stage that we appeal to the conscience of the people to be simply law-abiding. Criminal justice is only effective if the deviance is few... they are in the minority but when you have too many people violating then we have a problem."

With this, Kofi Abotsi stressed the need for people to be made to see how their actions will affect the whole community. He added that it is imperative not to talk strict law at this point.

"There is a psycho-social aspect to this there must be a sense of ownership as far as what is happening is concern. This disease is not just about you it is about your prospects of spreading it."