Scrap Law On ‘Bailable Offences’*Angry Police Officers Urge CJ, IGP
Some police officers in Accra say the upsurge of crime in the country could be linked directly to what is now known in legal circles as ‘bailable offences.’
They said due to a recent Supreme Court ruling on the need to grant bail to suspected criminals in line with the presumption of innocence as enshrined in the I992 Constitution, some Judges and Courts, grant bails to some criminals, irrespective of their future ramifications for the country.
They cited Article 19 of the Constitution and Section 96 of the Criminal and Other Offences Procedure Act, 1960 (Act 30), and tied it with the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Martin Kpebu v Attorney General, which ruling they claim has emboldened lawyers defending criminals to ask for bails, irrespective of the magnitude of the offences involved.
According to the officers, they have reliable information that, these bails have direct impact on the upsurge of crime and the activities of land guards in the country.
They explained that even though granting of bail is still discretionary, some lawyers could push the courts with strong arguments to secure bails for suspects.
Commenting on the recent cell break at the Kwabenya police station, the angry officers fumed that, “if such criminals are arrested and granted bail, what can’t they do next?”
They called on the Chief Justice and the Inspector General of Police to fashion out a means by which the granting of indiscriminate bails could be minimized or denied, and noted that if care is not taken, the development may one day spell doom for the country.
They cited numerous instances where land guards were brought before the courts for causing serious bodily harm and damage to lives and property but were released on bail at their first appearances in court, all because of the law on ‘bailable offences’, which is an offspring of the Supreme Court judgment in the Martin Kpebu case.
“We are on the ground and we are handling criminals, so what we are saying represent the hard evidences on the ground and they represent our perspective on the realities facing the nation in respect of crime upsurge in the country”, they said.
The officers, who claim they are not challenging the authority of the courts, advised that: “If we want to solve the land guards and armed robbery menaces, then let us take a second look at how criminals like armed robbers and land guards are granted bails in this country, and we will be better off as a people”.