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General News of Friday, 7 September 2018

Source: Ghana Police Service

Bail is free - Ghana Police Watch

Bail is the temporary release of a suspect from Police custody pending further investigations or court appearance.

This week, Ghana Police Watch focuses on this important instrument of the justice system and educates the public about the procedures for securing bail, types of bail include police enquiry bail and court bail conditions attached to the bail bond, surety and related issues.

The programme starts with interviews with members of the public, especially
young people, soliciting their opinion as to whether Bail was free? Most
respondents believed that there was a charge associated with securing bail for a suspect.

Bail by law is free and must be devoid of all fees and charges but from the
interviews, it is clear that a lot more public education is needed to ensure that the law is clearly understood and upheld in all situations and circumstances throughout the country.

The programme includes filming at Anyirawase Police Station in Volta Region
where a suspect has been brought in by two police officers having been arrested for a public order offence. Through this practical example, the programme throws light on the process of investigation and application for bail; systematically explained by Chief Superintendent Benjamin Addae from Legal Directorate of Ghana Police Service.

The suspect is interviewed by an investigator who spells out his rights and takes a caution statement. In detention, the suspect is also made to see a senior officer who further reviews his case. Under the 1992 Ghana Constitution, Article 14(3), the police can only hold the suspect for 48 hours, within which time it either has to charge the suspect and send him to court or allow the suspect to be bailed.

The programme features a range of prominent experts who give valuable insights and highlight the critical issues. They include Sir Justice Dennis Adjei, Justice of the Court of Appeal, Mr. Francis Baah, Supt of Police Retired/Barrister @ Law and Lecturer a the Police Detective School, Mr. Edmund Amarkwei Foley, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, GIMPA.

To secure the bail of the suspect in the programme, an uncle is contacted, who fortunately is prepared to come to the station and bail the suspect.

Unfortunately, many suspects find it difficult to find people who are prepared and qualified to stand as surety for them.

The programme discusses the emergence of professional bail contractors and the threat to the judicial process especially when the same documents have been used to secure bail to various suspects. This raises the question of who qualifies to stand surety for a bail. The surety is the guarantor of a
bail. Once a bail is granted, it is the duty of the surety to ensure that the suspect complies with the terms of his bail by either reporting at the police station in the case of a police enquiry bail or appearing in court if it is a court bail.

In the event that the suspect absconds, it is the duty of the surety to produce him. Our criminal procedure provides for any Ghanaian, irrespective of sex to stand surety for a bail provided they can meet the terms thereof. There is therefore the need to dispel the myth that women, especially lactating mothers, cannot stand surety for a bail.

Supt. Felicia Ayesu - Dist. Police Commander, Anyirawase and Chief Inspector
Victor Dosoo, Police Prosecutor, Greater Accra Region speak from their
experience as police officers. These unscrupulous “bail contractors” hang around police stations and law courts offering their services to secure bail for suspects, usually with fake documents. A warning is sounded to the public to be aware of their activities.

In the studio discussion, the vibrant discussions delves deeper into the issues and other pertinent information are shared with the public, particularly the current law which makes all offences bailable since the 2016 Ghana Supreme Court decision in Martin Kpebu v Attorney General case.

Hosted by Israel Laryea, the studio discussion features prominent journalist and rights campaigner, Samson Lardy Anyenini, and Chief Superintendent Brown
Mercy Wilson, Volta Regional Coordinator of DOVVSU.

And now some home security tips:

In order to make robberies unattractive to thieves and armed robbers, secure
your electronic gadgets such as TV sets, laptop computers, tablets, phones
and other valuables by marking them either with your initials, names or
symbols. This serves as disincentives to thieves.

Secure your houses, offices and properties by fitting proper and quality
locks, Install CCTV cameras if you can, Know your neighbours so you can assist one another in the event of robberies, Always call the police emergency command center on 191 or on 18555.

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