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Your Rights series
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to being held in temporary custody at the police station while awaiting
trial. Detention, like an arrest, is an interference with a person's
fundamental right of personal liberty. To detain any person is therefore
a drastic step and should not be resorted to unless it is justified.
The power to detain should be exercised sparingly, reasonably and
An accused person
or suspect is to be detained pending his appearance in court only
when this is necessary to prevent him from committing further crimes,
or interfering with evidence, witnesses or police investigations.
Where an accused's
attendance in court can be secured by other means, e.g. summons,
then such accused should not be detained. The purpose of detention
is to secure the accused's presence at court and not to punish
- An accused
arrested without a warrant must not be detained for a period which
exceeds 48 hours unless a warrant for his further detention has
- Even though
an accused or suspect may be detained for a period of up to 48
hours before being taken to court, effort should be made to bring
him to court as soon as possible. A warrant for further detention
should only be sought when this is absolutely necessary. Notwithstanding
the existence of a warrant for further detention accused persons
should be taken to court as soon as possible.
- It is a prisoner's
right to communicate with his or her friends, relatives or legal
representatives provided it can be done without any prejudice
to any pending prosecution.
with friends and relatives must be done within sight, but out
of hearing of a police officer.
with a legal practitioner must be done within sight, but out of
hearing of a police officer.
- If a prisoner
falls sick or requests medical attention, it is the responsibility
of the police officer on duty to allow him to be treated or receive
medical attention. This should also be recorded in the charge
- Where an
accused has been hospitalised, a guard must be placed at his bedside.
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