Public Education On Bail, Law Crucial

Bafi Nlanda delivering the keynote address at the Bail Pitso in Francistown . PIC:  KEOAGILE BONANG
Bafi Nlanda delivering the keynote address at the Bail Pitso in Francistown . PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG

FRANCISTOWN: Different stakeholders at the just-ended Bail Pitso have recommended that the public be educated on the laws pertaining to bail.

Assistant director of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mmapatsi Tshimologo highlighted this need for public awareness and knowledge on bail and the law at an event held at Thapama Hotel last week.

When presenting on bail resolutions, Tshimologo said there was a need for the public to be schooled on them.

She added that the public should be taught about the principle of presumption of innocent until proven guilty according to the law. She also said there is a need for a codified law, which would come up with the Bail Act so that they can be able to determine candidates of bail.

Tshimologo further said the courts should also create a database, which will be easily accessible to ascertain offender’s history, and also the DPP and courts should take advantage of the technological advancement in their court systems such as real time recording.

“Another resolution was the need to come up with a system that will ensure that there was effective monitoring of compliance of bail conditions and we should also elect the law that would allow the State to appeal bail ruling to higher courts,” she said.

When giving the vote of thanks, deputy secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, Nchunga Nchunga said different stakeholders were coming out of the Pitso with improved awareness and they have closed the knowledge gap, which existed before on issues pertaining to bail.

“As you all know that knowledge is power, the judiciary has accepted the concept of continuous judicious training as evidenced by hosting regular awareness workshops,” said Nchunga.

He added that if the judiciary believes in continuous training, they should all as per their resolutions ensure that going forward they take seriously the issue of continuously capacitating themselves, especially that they are aware of recent emerging issues.

Nchunga added that it was important for them to meet in forums like this in order to equip themselves. He also said that they are all experts in their different fields and different statutes govern them all, but on this journey they need to work collectively.

“I have also learnt that broadly speaking bail is not the real problem, bail is a constitutional right and the Constitution takes the right to liberty with great respect,” he said.

“Actually, we are dealing with bail but only as a symptom of their processes hence there is a need for us to go back and introspect and improve our processes right from investigation up to the end of the trial.”

Nchunga said they also learnt that there is a need for them to modernise their support systems and take advantage of technology, which is available to ensure that they come out of doing things manually, which leads to sluggishness.

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