Drama of FALSE IMPRISONMENT

(It was on a public holiday, Barrister Ojulari and his Legal Intern were in the law office, interacting and doing some brainstorming.)

BARR. OJULARI: My busy commitment has prevented us from interacting for a long time. Thanks to God there is an holiday today, are you ready to receive some brainstorming from me?

INTERN : Yes Sir.

BARR. OJULARI: OK, what is a felony?

INTERN : A Felony is an offence which is declared by law to be a felony, or is punishable without proof of previous conviction, with death or by imprisonment for a period not less than three years.[1]

BARR OJULARI: What is a misdemeanor?

INTERN : A misdemeanor is an offence which is declared by law to be misdemeanor or is punishable with imprisonment for not less than six months, but less than three years.[2]

BARR. OJULARI : Good of you!

(BARR. OJULARI receives a phone call from a client asking if he is available, he answered the client to enter his office)

BARR. OJULARI: You are welcome, how can we help you sir!

CLIENT: I’m Chief A’s son who is working with LMN Company, the small guy that you attended his convocation ceremony some years ago.

BARR. OJULARI: Wow! But you are no more a small guy, how is your workplace?

CLIENT: I’m even here because of the CEO of that company, you can’t imagine that he had deprived me of my constitutional right, and I want to enforce it.

BARR. OJULARI: Good of you! You resemble your brave father, who doesn’t cheat and doesn’t allow to be cheated.

CLIENT: We were informed that there will be public holiday on Monday and Tuesday of this week when we were at work on Thursday last week, for this reason, the CEO ordered that no one should be allowed to leave the office after closing time.

BARR. OJULARI: Ah! That is bad.

CLIENT:The company’s entrance was locked, we were left with high built fence which is equipped with electric facility. No one would dare to move near the fence unless one wants to die.

BARR. OJULARI :Did he have any reasonable excuse to do that ?

CLIENT : He did so to force us to continue working to cover the days we shall spend at home.

BARR. OJULARI : What else did he do after that?

CLIENT: He was even daring us to do whatever we want after he released us on Sunday afternoon.

BARR. OJULARI : Sunday afternoon since Thursday?

CLIENT: As a person who knows my right, I know there should be a remedy for me. How will you help me sir?

BARR. OJULARI : God forbids that a day shall come, that a lawyer will have nothing to say!

CLIENT: I trust you.

BARR. OJULARI : We are going to sue the company for FALSE IMPRISONMENT.

CLIENT : False imprisonment? But we were not taken to prison.

BARR. OJULARI : (laughs) False imprisonment is a situation whereby someone is deprived of his right to live freely in a way that is not recognised by the law.

CLIENT : If I understand you, you mean that, as we were locked in the office building without given opportunity to move out, is that False imprisonment?

BARR. OJULARI : Yes, and the law has guaranteed you right to personal liberty, which no one is allowed to stop you from enjoying except in a situation that is permitted by law.[3]

CLIENT : Can you please tell me the situation that can make someone’s right to personal liberty to be deprived?

BARR. OJULARI : Of course, A person’s personal liberty may be deprived to execute an oder of a court if a person is found guilty of a crime [4].

CLIENT : Like when some is sentenced to prison right?

BARR. OJULARI : Yes. A person’s right to personal liberty may also be deprived if such a person has disobeyed a court order, or to force someone to fulfill an obligation imposed on him by law. [5].

CLIENT: Wonderful!

BARR. OJULARI : A person who suffers from infectious or contagious disease, or a person who is of unsound mind can also be deprived of his personal liberty for the purpose of treatment. [6]

CLIENT: That is for the good of that person and the community!

BARR. OJULARI : A child of less than 18 years old can also be deprived of his freedom to move freely for the purpose of his education or welfare [7].

CLIENT: But we were not taken to prison, and you have not mentioned the word prison since we’ve been talking, you are just talking about deprivation of freedom to move freely, no police officers or armed men was there with us, how is this matter related to False imprisonment?

BARR. OJULARI : When the doors were locked, did you find any reasonable space to escape?

CLIENT : No, we could not. The only option left was electric fence, no one could dare to move near it.

BARR. OJULARI : A false imprisonment is complete deprivation of liberty for any time, however short, without lawful excuse. Imprisonment is no other thing but the restraint of man’s liberty. [8] [9]. Even if you are forced not to move freely in an open field unlawfully, you are falsely imprisoned.

CLIENT: Are we going to report the Company to the police now to enforce my right?

BARR. OJULARI: Nope! The police has no right to interfere in this matter because it is a civil wrong[10]. We are going to drag the company to court for fundamental human right enforcement.

CLIENT: Barrister! I just like you for your professional competence. My right can not be trampled upon because I am working with a company. Respectfully sir, today is a public holiday, why are you at office!

BARR. OJULARI : (Smiles and giggles) We should be at home sleeping too,but we prefer studying and learning new things to sleeping at home. As you can see, you met only I and my intern at office, we are here for studying not for work.

CLIENT : No wonder why you are so much sound in legal knowledge, you study every time. I will settle your bill through my Dad’s accountant before tomorrow. Thank you Sir.

(The client exits)

DIFFICULT WORDS:
CONVICTION: A formal declaration by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law that someone is guilty of a criminal offence.
DEPRIVED: Lacking the necessities of life.
ENFORCE: To keep up, impose or bring into effect something, not necessarily by force.
LIBERTY : The quality or state of being free: a : the power to do as one pleases.
CONTAGIOUS DISEASE: A disease (such as influenza, measles, or tuberculosis) that is transmitted by contact with an infected person.

[3] Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
[4] Section 34 (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
[5] Section 34 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
[6] Section 34 (1) (d) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
[7] Section 34 (1) (c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
[8] Kodilinye and Aluko, “The Nigeria law of Torts”, (1999) 2nd Ed. p14
[9] Zenith International Bank Limited V. Nosa Davis Iyamu (2021) LPELR-54150 (CA)
[10] Section 32 (2) of the Nigeria Police Force (Establishment) Act 2020

REFERENCES:
[1] A.O. Obilade, “The Nigerian Legal System”, Ibadan; (2000) p6
[2] A.O. Obilade, “The Nigerian Legal System”, Ibadan; (2000) p6

Abdulrauf Abdullahi Adebayo is a Law student, a Content creator, Dynamic writer and a Ghost writer.

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