It is a no-brainer that road accidents are claiming many lives, leaving several others incapacitated and destroying millions of properties.
While irradicating the canker does not seem like a possibility, the government, organisations and individuals have made considerable efforts to ensure a reduction in the rate of road accidents.
Considering that most of the incidents are as a result of human error, one would have thought that drivers would be responsible enough and eschew recklessness. However, some drivers like Fameye would ignore the dangers and flout the rules.
Of course, the musician has said he apologized for being reckless, but it is instructive to note that his apology would not have mattered had the unfortunate happened. Admittedly, we all make mistakes.
One may not gasp at Fameye’s revelation that he drove recklessly on the Okponglo-Legon road but at the impertinence of his disclosure that he and his team “managed to seize” the phone of a student, later identified as Dave, for filming him. What is more ridiculous is the fact that he has refused to give the phone back to the owner.
His bane is that the drivers he offended accepted his apology but the unknown individual, a student of the University of Ghana, who was a passenger, got off the car to film him with the aim of broadcasting it. “I’ll capture you on video. You’re Fameye so what? Foolish boy, you want to kill me,” Fameye quoted his attacker to have said in the process.
In his tweet shared on March 1, 2022, the musician, exhibiting bravado, outlined the conditions under which he would release the phone. “He should reply this tweet and apologise. Also, he should make a video and apologise and unlock his iPhone in our presence and delete the video he took,” Fameye said in Pidgin English while leaving his contact information for the victim.
Fameye’s claim that he apologized has, however, been rubbished by the said student who in a series of tweets told his side of the story amid a claim that he has reported the case which occurred on January 9, 2022, to the Legon Police Station.
The apology is not the crux of the matter but the sheer display of bravado – committing a road traffic offence and having the audacity to seize someone’s phone and on top of it, post such a condemnable approach on social media. How convenient!
Phone seizure totally unnecessary
Fameye in his narrative justified his reason for seizing the phone but that explanation is hogwash. Nobody has the right to seize another’s property unless it is backed by law. It is worth pointing out that Fameye in his March 1 tweet indicated that the student began filming upon realizing that he [Fameye] was the culprit. At the time, he had rolled down his side glass to render an apology for driving recklessly.
In a tweet that has been pulled down, Fameye explained that the student intended to dent his image with the footage, hence, the seizure. It, thus, begs the question: “How could the video have implicated Fameye when the filming rather started after the ‘reckless driving’ to warrant a seizure in the first place?”
Undoubtedly, Fameye has rather shot himself in the foot for making such a post on social media because what he sought to prevent is muddied.
Is it right or wrong to film a traffic offender?
As explained by Lamtiig Apanga, Esq in an interview with GhanaWeb, “there is no law specifically against filming road traffic infringement or even filming any incident in the public space unless you’re filming something in a security zone which has been marked as such… but where it is an open space, a public place, roadside, public building, then there is no such infringement at all.”
“It is only an infringement if it’s a private place like someone’s house or private space. That is not even criminal, it’s an action in tort – a trespass,” he added.
What does the law say about unlawful seizure of properties?
It appears that Fameye is ignorant about the law because what he did amounts to either robbery or theft, depending on the manner in which the phone was seized.
“No single individual has the right to seize someone’s property unless with a court order. And that is based on having followed due process. More importantly, it is the police that can seize a property that is a subject of investigation or subject of crime,” said Lamtiig Apanga, Esq.
“Individually, nobody has the right at all in any way or shape. If in the attempt to seize the property, force was applied, that is robbery. If you didn’t apply force, but you took it away, it is stealing,” the lawyer added.
Indeed, the law protects everybody, hence, there is room for people to seek redress when there is the need to. If Fameye, for any reason, wanted to pursue this, due process should have been followed.
“If someone films you in a public place, you have no right to seize the person’s phone. You must at best, go to court if you think your right has been infringed upon and sue the person in a civil action and seek damages for having infringement upon your personality or privacy,” Lamtiig Apanga, Esq noted.
It is instructive to note that there is a contradiction as regards when the incident happened. While Fameye said in his post that it happened last year (2021), the student said it rather happened on January 9, 2022. The student in his account said he “immediately” reported the incident at the Legon Police Station but checks by GhanaWeb revealed that no such incident has been reported.
The way forward
Unless it is a publicity stunt, Fameye should locate the student, perhaps, apologise to him and give back the phone. Should the student decide to take Fameye on legally, the musician could laugh at the wrong side of his mouth.
Author: Benefo Buabeng