Some angry police officers in Accra say, the upsurge of crime in the country could be linked to what is now known in legal circles as ‘bailable offences.’
They said, in recent times, in view of the Supreme Court ruling on the need to grant bail in line with the presumption of innocence enshrined in the I992 Constitution, some Judges and Courts, grant bails to some criminals, irrespective of their future ramifications for the country.
They cited Article 19 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 96 of the Criminal and Other Offences Procedure Act, 1960 (Act 30), and tied it with the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Martin Kpebu v Attorney General, which ruling has now emboldened Lawyers defending criminals to ask for bails, irrespective of the magnitude of the offences involved.
According to the angry police officers, they have reliable information that, these bails are linked to the upsurge of crimes and the activities of land guards in the country.
They explained that, these criminals are now bold and not afraid to commit crimes, because they are of the view that, even though the grant of bail is still discretionary, in view of the judgment by the Supreme Court, some Lawyers could push the Courts with strong arguments to secure bails for them.
They also said, evidence abounds to the effect that, some of these criminals, who secure bails, are linked to the current upsurge of crimes and land guards activities in the country and cited various instances of armed robberies and arrests made by the police involving such criminals, who have several robbery land guard charges against them.
Turning their attention to the recent cell break at the Kwabenya police station, the angry police officers fumed that, “if such criminals are arrested and granted bail, what can’t they do next?”
They called on the Chief Justice and the Inspector General of Police to come together to fashion out a means by which these indiscriminate bails could be minimized or refused some criminals, to save the country from the upsurge of crimes and the activities of land guards.
They told the media that, as police officers, they have great respect for the law and the courts but said, if care is not taken, these frequent and indiscriminate granting of bails to all manner of criminals irrespective of the magnitude of their crimes, may one day spell doom for the country.
They cautioned the authorities to take a second look at the laws and the Supreme Court judgment in the Martin Kpebu case, so as to come up with options that could save the country from the current upsurge in criminal activities.
The angry police officers also stated that, the recent upsurge in the activities of land guards in the country could also be attributed to the indiscriminate granting of bails to these land guards, who are dragged to court over their activities.
They cited numerous instances where land guards were brought before the courts for causing harm and damage to lives and property but were released on bail at their first appearances in court, all because of the law on ‘bailable offences’ resulting from the Supreme Court judgment in the Martin Kpebu case.
Without sounding as if they are challenging the authority of the courts, the police officers indicated that, “we are on the ground and we are handling criminals, so what we are saying are the evidence on the ground and they represent our perspective on the realities facing the nation in respect of crime upsurge in the country.”
They argued that, if the issue of the granting of bails is not taken a second look at, there will continue to be upsurge of crimes and land guards activities with their attendant losses of lives and property.
“If we want to solve the land guards and armed robbery menaces, then let us take a second look at how criminals like armed robbers and land guards are granted bails in this country, and we will be better off as a people,” they advised.