Mon | Oct 15, 2018

No to bail, let 'em rot in jail

Published:Tuesday | December 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Recently, a Cabinet minister made an appeal to the chief justice on the question of the grant of bail. The chief justice, quite properly, I thought, referred that minister to Parliament, which was the source of the recently minted Bail Act, which I understand mandates that an accused is entitled to bail.

The interesting thing was that when this act was passed, the crime statistics were at the lowest they had been in years.

The direct consequence of automatic right to bail is the dramatic increase in the number of persons who have been killed, allegedly by accused persons who are on bail. The minister stated that 148 persons have been killed during the course of this year. In any other country , long before the figures went into double digits, there would have been an outcry, a media storm that would have caused the Government to rethink its policy.

If the courts are releasing accused persons who then eliminate witnesses, then walk free, why should any accused feel the need to plead guilty? As it stands, even where the witnesses survive and testify, the jurors are tampered with. In the unusual case where a juror, acting on behalf of the accused, is caught, that trial is never brought to a conclusion .

The Government needs to get serious in dealing with crime and its punishment and stop asking irrelevant and nonsensical questions.