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Bail woes: New process needed for granting bail

Bail woes: New process needed for granting bail


The issue of bail continues to be a problem at both The High Court and Magisterial levels, and Justice Gertel Thom wants to see a new process for granting bail to accused persons.{{more}}

“The time has come to review the administrative process, and assistance must be given to the Registrar to determine the structure,” Thom stated. The judge was at the time addressing the closing of the Criminal Assizes at the High Court on Monday, March 30, 2009.

Thom went on to say that they must be able to weigh and determine those persons who are to be accepted as sureties. Moreover, she indicated that the Magistracy has a very vital role to play as well when it comes to bail. Thom noted that most of the persons who are given bail and are told by the Magistrate that their matter will be heard in the High Court do not know the exact date when the Assizes commence. “The exact dates should be given by Magistrates, instead of just saying at the next sitting of the Assizes,” Thom said. By doing this, Thom said persons would not have an excuse for being absent when the High Court sits.

She added that it was unacceptable that most persons charged with offences were not served with their indictments at the opening and during the assizes. “It is becoming a pattern with the bailiffs of the High Court and it needs to be looked at seriously,” the judge said.

Figures revealed at the court indicated that 22 of the 37 persons who were granted bail to attend the January 2009 Assizes failed to show up at the arraignment.

Addressing the court, Director of Public Prosecutions, Colin Williams, said that a number of persons who were given bail proved difficult to locate. The DPP stated that most of the sureties hardly know the accused persons.(KW)