December 16, 2019
By Frederick V. Kanneh
Executive Director of the Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL), Ibrahim Tommy, has observed that there is limited knowledge among police prosecutors in magistrate courts with respect to the bail regulation of 2018.
He made the above observation on Friday, 13th December, 2019, at a press conference in which he updated newsmen on the findings and general observations of their completed project that was designed to monitor the adjudication of bail application mainly in magistrate courts.
Ibrahim Tommy said prosecutors in magistrate courts need to be educated more about the 2018 bail regulation because most of them tend to struggle with its very provisions.
He noted that the area that the police prosecutors should concentrate more in their study of the bail regulation is on the process of affidavit, where mistakes are made often.
He continued that affidavit is a document that bears the particulars of the person the prosecutor is prosecuting in court, adding that all information containing therein should be factual.
“The report observed that most of these police prosecutors often fail to state the right information about the person they are prosecuting. For instance, you cannot just say this person is a flight risk, he has no fix aboard, no family, etc, when in actual sense the person in question has them,” he said.
He also noted that the project report made series of observations and that a total of 6,051 counts were involved in all cases monitored across the 14 districts in Sierra Leone.
He said 1800 of those offences were considered very serious because they fell under the categories of sexual penetration, rape, sexual touching, wounding to name, but a few.
He said they noticed inconsistencies in assessing bail conditions for the similar offences, adding that bail conditions were sometimes so onerous that many accused persons found it practically impossible to meet them.
“Magistrates in the provinces are sometimes reluctant to grant bail because accused persons from remote areas may easily jump bail. Also, a significant challenge confronting the implementation of the bail regulations based on our observation is the unavailability of persons to stand as sureties for defendants/ accused persons,” he said.
Highlighting some of the findings of the report, he said a total of 5,096 cases were captured by their monitoring tool, nothing that of the total amount, 4,706 were male accused persons while 351 were female accused persons.