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Father of deceased KNUST SHS student wins appeal, gets a court order for release of death report

The father of the late Master Sam Leonard Richards, a former student of the KNUST Senior High School, has won an appeal at the Accra High Court after he sought that a committee report on the death of his son be released to him.

In the court’s decision, the Minister of Education, and the Ashanti Regional Minister, should fulfil the legal action initiated by Edwin Sam against them, seeking a release of the available information to him, reports

Delivering the order, the presiding judge, Justice Gifty Agyei Addo, stated that the right of Edwin Sam to information, as guaranteed under Article 21 (f) of the 1992 Constitution, which has been operationalized by the Right to Information Act, 2919 (Act 989), should be exercised.

“The refusal, failure or neglect of the Ashanti Regional Minister and/or the Minister of Education to furnish the applicant with the report is without any lawful or rational basis and amounts to a violation, a continuing violation or a threatened violation of the applicant’s right to information, guaranteed by Article 21 (1(f) of the 1992 Constitution and the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989),” the judge said.

Additionally, the Attorney-General has been slapped with a cost of GHC2,000, as being the respondent in the case, ordering further that the order must be carried out within 14 days after Sam pays GHc1,500 as the cost for the information.

Sam Leonard Richard took ill on campus on 6 July 2020, while preparing to sit for his final examination.

The business student died on July 7, 2020, after suffering stomach pains for more than three hours without being given any medical attention.

The victim’s colleague students, who attended to him until his father arrived on campus to convey him to a health facility where he later died, said the school authorities left the patient to his fate despite reeling under intense pain with vomiting bouts.

According to the angry students, who went on the rampage following their colleague’s death, the school authorities shunned the now-deceased out of fear of contracting COVID-19.

The headmistress of the KNUST Senior High School and two other teachers were interdicted after the death of the student.

Subsequently, the Ashanti Regional GES Director, Mary Owusu Achiaw, was asked to temporarily take charge of the school.

In court this month, the A-G had argued that although Edwin Sam had a right to information, they were justified in refusing to give him access to the report.

They further argued that the only information which ought to be given to him was the autopsy report which established the cause of death of his son.

He added that the autopsy report showed that the student died from a heart attack flowing from a peptic ulcer, “which had nothing to do with the inaction of the teaching staff.”

“Since the report was not cognizable by law, the parents cannot have the benefit of the report,” the A-G had argued, the report said.

Judge Justice Gifty Agyei Addo however disagreed, arguing that the move was not a lawfully accepted justification to prevent the applicant from enjoying his constitutional right to information.




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