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Mixed reactions trail high bail conditions

11 January 2016, 18:10

Abuja - Some legal practitioners in Abuja have expressed mixed feelings over the bail conditions issued to defendants by courts in the country.

Some of the lawyers said on Friday that the bail conditions were normal while others said it was not attainable.

A senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Solo Akuma, appealed to the public not to assume that bail conditions were "stringent or unattainable’’.

Akuma said it is the nature of the offence that determines the bail that is given to a defendant.

Another lawyer, Labaran Magaji, who corroborated Akuma, said that bail conditions were at the discretion of courts.

A female lawyer, Adaeze Anah, said ``bail is a shield and not a sword. So, I can’t say whether it is attainable or unattainable.

"There are factors that determine the kind of bail conditions given to an accused person,’’ Anah said.

In his reaction, Godwin Chukwu, told NAN that bail conditions should not infringe on a defendant's liberty.

Chukwu said that bail must be exercised judiciously and judicially, adding that serious offences usually attract high and unattainable conditions.

He, however, caution that it should not be allowed to defeat the end of justice.

"Bail is free and the actual reason for bail is to ensure attendance in court and for temporal liberty of the defendant.

"Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution presumes a defendant innocent until proven otherwise.’’

Another lawyer, Ahmed Jega said, "in my opinion high bail conditions is to put fear in the defendants in order for them to show up in court on the adjourned dates.’’

Oyeyemi Adeniyi and Kunle Aladetoyinbo, said that high bail conditions were lawful because the court sets the bail bond based on fairness, good conscience and natural justice.


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