Monday, 24 April 2017

Court refuses to scrap payment of money for bail

A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected the request that it voids the legal provision requiring a defendant granted bail to make financial deposit.

Justice Gabraiel Kolawole, in judgment Monday dismissed a suit filed in that regard
The judge held that the provision, contained in Section 165(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 was lawful and did not offend the Constitution.

The plaintiff, Dr. A.C.B. Agbazuere, a lawyer, had urged the court to void Section 165(2) of the ACJA on the ground that it was offensive to the provision of Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution.

He argued that “the applicability of Section 165(2) of the ACJA will deprive Nigerian citizens of their liberty, freedom and fair hearing. “With Section 165(2) of the ACJA, the accused is to pay money before his bail can be approved when the prosecution has neither proved the essential ingredients of the case not has the accused been found guilty. “By providing for the mandatory payment of money before bail is approved, section 165(2) of the Act has now presumed every person guilty when he has not been tried and found guilty.

“It is an aberration and ambush against the people and should not be allowed to stand,” the plaintiff had argued.

Defendants in the suit – the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Assembly – objected to the suit by filing two notices of preliminary objection

They queried the competence of the suit and the plaintiff’s locus standi. They urged the court to decline jurisdiction.

The defendant contended that the plaintiff did not prove that he is an accused person before any court, who has been asked to deposit money for bail.

They also argued that the plaintiff failed to establish that his right was breached in any way.

The defendants noted that the portion of the law complained of, provides that a court “may” impose money for bail, which implied that the monetary requirement was not mandatory.

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