Regional News of 2014-02-26

Ursula Owusu ready to lead legal action against 'Mr Price' in shoplifting incident

Lawyer and Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West Ursula Owusu Ekufful says she is ready to lead a legal battle against Mr Price, the shop at the centre of a shoplifting incident at the Accra Mall, Monday.

Security men at Mr Price supervised what has been described as an inhuman treatment meted out to three young ladies accused of shoplifting panties in the shop.

The three were made to crawl on their knees from Mr Price through other shops at the Accra Mall to the main entrance while been heckled, ridiculed by members of the public, some of whom recorded the incident on their phones.

The incident has been a subject of a huge controversy in the media with some criticising Mr Price for superintending over a violation of the rights of the girls.

One of the three girls later confirmed in an interview with Myjoyonline.com's Edwin Appiah that they took more panties than they paid for but explained that they pleaded with the managers of Mr. Price to allow them pay for the items, a suggestion which was immediately rejected.

The lady, whose name has been withheld, said the effect of the treatment meted out to them was no less than being lynched.

In an interview with Joy News, Ursula Owusu Ekufful said the action by Mr Price was condemnable and hinted she was ready to lead a legal battle against the company for violating the human rights of the victims.

While condemning the decision by the three girls to shoplift, she was quick to add that the country is governed by laws which spell out in clear unambiguous terms how to treat persons found to have stolen.

"If people are caught breaking the law do we subject them to such barbaric treatment or do we let the law take its course?

"In my opinion those who stood and watched are equally as guilty as the security personnel who subjected the girls to this treatment.

"They have been caught shoplifting, yes; that is akin to stealing. What does the law say about people caught stealing?

"Do you subject them to a trial by ordeal. Do you subject them to such cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment; do you expose them to such public ridicule hatred and contempt. Or do you send them to the appropriate authorities to deal with them according to law?

"If Mr Price and its security officials think that this is the best way to deal with shoplifters then in their thinking we are living in a jungle or some kind of primitive society and they can do this and get away with it.

"There is no way they can do this in South Africa where Mr Price originates from," Mrs Ekufful said.

The MP said there are several causes of action open to both Mr Price and girls.

"Mr Price can choose to prosecute them for shoplifting but they can also bring action against [Mr Price] in assault, violation of their human rights and dignity.

"I will be very willing to lead this charge against the shop which subjected them to this kind of treatment," she threatened.

What they did is reprehensible and condemnable and must be condemned by all right thinking members of the society, she added.