A Supreme Court Judge, Justice Jones Dotse has criticised the District, Circuit and High Courts for disregarding a Supreme Court decision that declared all offences in Ghana bailable.
The Supreme Court on 5th of May, 2016, by a 5-2 majority decision struck out from Ghana’s statute books non-bailable offences.
The Court described the law, which has been in existence for nearly three decades, as “unconstitutional.”
The decision of the apex court automatically granted trial courts and judges the authority to grant bail to accused persons in cases such as murder, rape, treason, piracy, defilement among others.
The Supreme Court made the ruling in a case titled Martin Kpebu verses the Attorney General filed in February 2015.
Section 96 (7) of Ghana’s Criminal Code was the law overturned by the decision of the Supreme Court.
Addressing the press after representing the Chief Justice at a Justice For All (JFA) sitting at the Akuse Prisons in the Eastern region, Justice Dotse observed that from the statistics emerging from the JFA sittings, it appears trial courts are remanding too many accused persons in prison or Police custody and that does not support the status of the law in the country.
He charged trial courts to respect the law on bailable offences and exercise their discretionary powers appropriately.
The JFA sitting at the Akuse Prisons had thirty-seven (37) people before the court. At the end of the hearings, four (4) inmates were discharged from prison custody. One (1) inmate was convicted and sentenced whereas twenty-four (24) inmates were granted bail with varied conditions.
Two (2) applications were refused with one (1) inmate referred to see a psychiatrist. Five (5) other applicants were not present because they had been granted bail by the courts in Akuse.