Arrest order by District Commissioner
When the District Commissioner was visiting our ward, he ordered my friend to be arrested and detained because he was inciting people to oppose a health project that is carried out in our ward. The District Commissioner seemed to have acted on wrong information he was given by the political opponents of my friend. My friend was arrested and was in police custody for three days. Every time we asked the police to give him bail they told us that they cannot grant him bail until they get approval from the District Commissioner who ordered his arrest. What can we do to have my friend released from Police custody?
Section 15 of the Regional Administration Act [Cap. 97 R.E 2002] gives a District Commissioner power to order verbally or in writing the arrest of a person who commits an offence in his presence; a person he reasonably believes to have committed an offence or a person he believes is likely to commit a breach of the peace. However, the law requires a person arrested under the order of the District Commissioner to be set free or brought before a magistrate with competent jurisdiction within 48 hours.
The District Commissioner is obliged to make a recorded reason for ordering the arrest and cause a copy of that recorded reason to be submitted to the magistrate at the time of bringing the suspect before the magistrate. The magistrate has power to admit the suspect brought before him to bail pending completion of the investigation of the offence for which the suspect is charged. Where the suspect is not released on police bail and is not brought before the magistrate within 48 hours, the suspect or his lawyer can petition the District Court for order that the person detained in police custody under the order of the District Commissioner be released or brought before a magistrate. Disobedience of the magistrate’s order constitutes the offence of contempt of Court and is punishable under section 114 of the Penal Code. Since your friend was in custody for more than 48 hours, you had a right to engage a lawyer to petition the District Court to order his release.