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A detainee has right to bail

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Detainee, Bail

By Justice Usman Bwala

See also El-Alim Mirghani vs Sudan Gov’t 1960 S.L.J.R 68. Where excessive bail conditions are granted it can be reviewed by courts SS 334, 125 CPC and CPA respectively, Mathias Onuigbo vs C.O.P supra.

There are two types of bail Mathias Onuigbo vs C.O.P supra as follows: “Bail is mainly of two types: (1) Self recognisance by which the accused person is merely asked to enter into bond of certain sum of money which may be estregated in full in case he fails to turn up on a given date; (1) Bond with surety or sureties by which he is asked to enter a bond of a fixed sum of money and the surety the same bond by which they bind themselves to forfeit a fixed sum of money in case of default of appearance by the accused person.”

Failure to fulfil bail bond terms can lead to forfeiting the bond, cancellation of the bail and re-arrested of the accused person Ss. 348 and 121 CPC and CPA respectively. A court can order the deposition of money in a court as a fulfilment of bail terms Mathias Onuagbo vs C.O.P supra.

There are procedures for forfeiting bail bond and the procedures must be meticulously followed Aiyegoboyin vs A.G. Oyo 1982 1 NCR 295. The conditions are a court must be satisfied bond has been forfeited, grounds for the forfeiture of the bond and it is discretionary of a court to order forfeiture S. 354 CPC, R vs Southampton Justices 1975 2 All E.L.R. 1075, El Alim vs Sudan Gov’t 1960 S.L.J.R.68. A bail bond must be in writing COP vs John 1981 1 NCR 139; R vs Mc Gary 1945 30 Cr. Ap. R 187.

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Bail before trial is sometimes referred to pre-trial bail and a person who has not been tried and convicted by a court is prima facie entitled to be granted bail unless there are mitigating circumstances Ani vs The State 2002 1 NWLR (Pt 747) 217.

Courts have inherent power to grant bail to a person before his committal for trial continues unless it is expressly taken away R vs Augustino 1950 WWR 1075. Bail will be refused an applicant when prosecution witnesses are afraid to testify in the case Bamaiyi vs The State 2001 2 NWLR (Pt 698) 435.

An applicant awaiting trial who is refused bail pending trial should be brought to court within a two months period stipulated in S. 35(4) constitution Bamaiyi vs The State supra. There are many factors considered before a court grants bail pending trial Shafiu vs The State 2002 4 NWLR (Pt 757) 265.

When a suspect will not appear in court to face trial, commit other crimes or has a record of previous convictions bail will be denied Girdhar vs R 1960 E.A. 320. When a suspect interfere with investigation bail will be denied James Danbaba vs The State 2000 14 NWLR (Pt 687) 396. The fact that a suspect has grievous charges against him is not a ground to refuse him bail James Danbaba vs The State supra.

A suspect who has not been tried and convicted by court should be granted bail as a matter of course Emeka Ani vs The State 2001 FWLR (Pt 81) 1715. Bail will be refused to an applicant who admitted committing a crime or investigation of his case was still going on Suleman Adamu vs C.O.P 2006 All FWLR (Pt 298) 1348.

Prisoners charged with high offences will not be granted bail Re Nottingham Corporation 1897 2 Q.B. 502. Capital offences are not bailable unless there are compelling and constraining circumstances COP vs Dr Iruoma 1977 1MSLR 80. Inordinate delay in prosecuting a case is a ground to grant bail pending trial COP vs Dr Iruoma supra.

An applicant who has a history of past convictions and committing other offences while on bail will have his bail revoked H.M. Postmaster vs Whitehouse 1951 35 Cr. A.P.R 8.

When a prosecutor asks for adjournment on the ground that the facts are insufficient to proceed against an accused person means there is no case against a suspect he is entitled to bail COP vs Dr Iruoma supra. When an applicant for bail pending hearing interferes with the course of justice bail will be denied A. G. vs Duffy 1942 I.R. 529.

It is the duty of the prosecution who opposed bail to provide prima facie evidence that the case against an accused person will succeed The State vs Lambert Onwu 1978 IMSLR 154.

Whatever stage application for bail is made the health of an applicant is a weighty matter to be considered Chief Olabode vs FRN 2010 5 NWLR (Pt 1187) 254.

Bail will not be granted to an applicant who has other cases pending against him Michael Patrick Philips 1948 32 Cr APR 4

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7. Bail must not be refused for personal vendetta, capricious reasons or to force an accused person to plead guilty Ugwumba Elisha vs C.O.P 1974 4 E.C. S.L.R 362. Difficulties encountered by an applicant is not a ground for granting bail but is a ground to adopt liberal approach Raghbir Lambon vs R 1933 E.A. 337.

Sections 27 and 332 of the Nigeria Police Act allows police officers to release on bail those arrested for minor offences. Under S. 332 (vii) of the Police Act the second in command in a police station can release on bail a suspect arrested without warrant.

Why it is the second in command who grants bail in a police station and not the head or any other person is not clear. When police officer releases on bail a suspect on conditions and the suspect fails to satisfy those conditions the suspect is no longer illegally detained Eda vs COP 1980 1 NCR 14.

Political motivation is not a ground to warrant an applicant get bail Aiyegboyin vs A.G. 1982 1 NCR 295. There is nothing in Nigerian law known as “holding charge” a major reason for keeping suspects in custody pending being charged to court Chief Pat Ewere vs COP 1993 6 NWLR (Pt 299) 333.

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