Laws restricting judges’ bail granting discretion "bad" – Short

General News of Wednesday, 11 March 2015


Judges  Supreme Court

A former commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short has described as “bad laws” any law that prevents judges from exercising their discretion to grant bail as far as non-bailable offences are concerned.

“…Any law that ties the hands of a judge from exercising his or her discretion depending on the circumstances of the case is a bad law and should not be tolerated in our statute books,” Justice Short told host of Morning Starr Kafui Dey on Starr 103.5FM, Wednesday.

Crimes such as murder, high treason, rape and narcotics use or trafficking are among the non-bailable offences in Ghana.

Popular hip life artist Kwaw Kese, who was recently arrested for smoking Indian hemp in public was denied bail for several times during his trial and remanded into prison custody for more than a month until he was finally granted bail on medical grounds.

But Justice Short says judges and magistrates must be trained in a more professional way so that they are able to grant bail to suspects in such cases so as to reduce congestion in the prisons.

“I think that there is the need for judges and magistrates to receive more training and education about the circumstances under which they would grant bail.

“There is the need for more professionalism among the judges…it is an area which is of great concern especially if you consider the state of our prisons and so when bail is refused unjustifiably then…you are compounding the problem of overcrowding in our prisons”.