AN ARRESTED PERSON NEED NOT SPEAK ENGLISH, HE HAS RIGHT TO FREE INTERPRETER IN POLICE STATIONS. Daily Law Tips (Tip 346) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

AN ARRESTED PERSON NEED NOT SPEAK ENGLISH, HE HAS RIGHT TO FREE INTERPRETER IN POLICE STATIONS.
Daily Law Tips (Tip 346) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)



Apart from having right to engage a lawyer of choice, an arrested person also has right to a free interpreter in police stations and other detention centres. An arrested person must not understand or speak English language rather it is the duty of police to provide a free interpreter for such arrested person. An arrested person is not to be charged for the services of an interpreter.
An interpreter is to record in English language and read the statement an arrested person to the understanding of such arrested person. Upon understanding the statement, the arrested person must sign and endorse the statement as having been made by the arrested person. Then, the interpreter must sign as the recorder of the statement, providing his name, address, occupation, designation and other particulars on the statement.

Recommendation: In practice, interpreters are often procured by police officers and some times, police officers play the role of interpreters. It will be tidier to statutorily provide that police procures Independent interpreters and that police officers should not be interpreter to ensure arrested persons are properly understood without fear of collusion. Furthermore, even where police procures interpreters, the law should allow arrested persons to be at liberty to engage independent interpreters.

My authorities are sections 17(3), 17(4), 17(5), 494 and 495 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and other similar laws across States in Nigeria.

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Onyekachi Umah

Onyekachi Umah is a private Legal Practitioner with amazing experience in business law, intellectual property, transaction and regulation advisory, corporate, commercial, investment law and energy law as well as litigation and arbitration arising from them. He is a Legal Awareness Expert and also a Certified Arbitrator both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and a Certified Conflict Management Practitioner and Negotiator. He is a member of prestigious “Young ICSID” of International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), Washington DC. Among other, he has a certificate in Law of Contract from a program of Harvard University, a certificate in International Environmental Negotiation from United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Geneva and recently, a certificate in Conflict Management from United States Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C. He also holds a master of laws degree from University of Jos and he is a doctoral student at the faculty of law, Nassarawa State University. 

Onyekachi is the managing partner of a leading law firm; Bezaleel Chambers International. He is the founder and President of a free law awareness platform known as www.LearnNigerianLaws.com that promotes awareness and understanding of rights and laws of Nigeria (#SabiLaw) and offers free daily law tips (#DailyLawTips). Understanding the challenges of Administration of Criminal Justice in Nigeria, he dedicates his daily law tips every Mondays to promoting Criminal Justice (#CriminalJusticeMonday). Recently, he started a new series on Election Laws tagged (#SabiElectionLaws) to increase legal awareness on elections laws, policies and regulations in Nigeria. He is the convener of the Sabi Law Lecture Series (#SabiLawLectureSeries), travelling around Nigeria delivering free law awareness lectures. He also organises and sponsors a quarterly competition, titled "Sabi Law Video Challenge" (#SabiLawVideoChallenge) where Nigerians win money (over $130.00 per winner) for making videos of themselves talking on any law or right as a way to promote law awareness and have fun. To further promote legal awareness among Nigerians across the world, he started a law awareness show titled "Sabi Law With Onyekachi Umah, Esq" (#SabiLawWithOnyekachiUmahEsq) showing on social media platforms via @LearnNigerianLaws.   

Mr. Umah has written over Three Hundred (300) free to access articles and materials on law with a desire to enlighten the public. He is also on the board of companies and non government organisations. Among others, he is serving as a member of the Advisory Committee for Law Clinics Partnership for Reforming Pre-trial Detention in Kuje Prison Project funded by the United States Department Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. He is member of the Rotary Club of Abuja, Metro (RCAM), District 9125. He has been featured as the Legal Personality of the Week by This Day Newspaper (a leading national newspaper) on its September 11, 2018 edition and was featured on the NigeriaLawyer.com as the Legal Personality of the Week on November 14, 2018. He has won several honours and awards for his innovative legal practise across the world.

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