The police division of Upper West have been accused by Residents of extorting monies from them in the name of bailing suspects they keep in their custody.
According to these people [Residents of Upper West], the police are slow to make arrests till they are paid for fuel, they demand ‘soli’ before they go to make an arrest some residents said.
Some residents speaking to Upperwestmedia.net on request of anonymity stated categorically that when they pay money for their suspects to be granted bail as requested by the officers, they don’t get the money back and with this they have a strong conviction these officers spend the money.
These people suggested its due to their lack of formal education that is making the police take advantage of them.
Upper west media checks proved bail is free and on no occasion should money be paid to any officer to be granted bail.
The Rights of Arrested Persons which include the right to bail are essentially protected under Chapter Five, Article 14 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and Section 96 of the 1960 Criminal Code of Ghana. However, this right is consistently been abused by the police and other security agencies notably the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).
Bail is the release of an arrested person on the condition that the person would appear before the court when required at a future date and that they would abide by any restrictions imposed upon them. Article 14 (2) of the 1992 constitution provides that “a person who is arrested, restricted and detained shall be informed immediately in a language he understands of the reason for his arrest ,restriction and detention and of his right to a lawyer of his choice”. Article 14(3) provides that “a person arrested, restricted or detained shall be brought before a court within forty-eight (48) hours after the arrest, restriction and detention” In furtherance, Article 14(4) provides that* “where a person arrested, restricted and detained is not tried within a reasonable time, then without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him, he shall be released either unconditionally or upon reasonable conditions including in particular, conditions reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears at a later date for trial or for proceedings preliminary to trial”. The police and other security agencies constantly violate these provisions of the 1992 Constitution. It is a fact in Ghana that suspects are scarcely taken to court within 48 hours after arrest.
A bail can be obtained through the Courts or the Police known as Police enquiry bail. The police and the courts can also grant self recognizance bail to suspects. A self recognizance bail is normally granted to persons considered prominent in society namely; Chiefs, Members of Parliament etc, and in situations where a suspect has been charged with a minor offence.
The granting of court bail is done at the discretion of the courts subject to the Criminal Procedure Code. However, for some offences bail cannot be granted by the courts. Section 96 (7) of the Criminal Procedure Code states that “a court shall refuse to grant bail in a case of treason, murder, subversion, robbery, hijacking, piracy, rape and defilement or escape from unlawful custody”. The court would refuse to grant bail if it is satisfied that the defendant:
– Would not appear to stand trial; or – May interfere with any witness or evidence or in any way hamper police investigations; or – May commit a further offence when on bail; or – Is charged with an offence punishable by imprisonment exceeding six months and which was allegedly committed whilst on bail.
A person may appeal to the High Court or a Circuit Court where the conditions of the bail appear excessive or harsh.
The granting of a police enquiry bail is done at the discretion of the police subject to the Criminal Procedure Code. A police enquiry bail is granted to an accused person within 48 hours after arrest to enable the police conduct further investigations into a case for prosecution or otherwise. A suspect must be granted a police enquiry bail and subsequently made to produce a surety before his or her release from police custody and not vice-versa. Some police investigators request suspects to produce sureties before they are granted bail which is not right. Furthermore, bail whether granted by the court or the police is free. The practice by some police officers to demand money from suspects before granting them bail is not right.
Bail is free – Ghana Police
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.