Granting of bail on weekends – SC asked to clear the air

Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood,Chief Justice.

Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood,Chief Justice.

An Accra-based private legal practitioner has filed a writ against the Attorney-General at the Supreme Court (SC) or failing to ensure that some courts in the country sit on Saturday, Sunday or public holidays, to grant bail to people whose 48 hours of arrest expire on these days.

Mr. Martin Kpeb, who said that it was a breach of Article 14 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, stated that it was wrong for a person to be refused bail on non-working days.

He said :“Where a person is arrested on a Friday, which is the case in many instances, the 48 hours are likely to expire on a Sunday, a day on which courts do not sit in Ghana.  Such a person ought to be given access to appear before a judge on that Sunday.”

Mr. Kpeb stressed that “There are also instances in which a suspect is arrested on a Thursday and as such the 48 hours after his arrest falls on a Saturday on which day the courts do not ordinarily sit (except a few courts to deal with Social Security payment cases – SSNIT cases.

“We also have instances where a person may be arrested on the December 24 and in that case the 48 hours is likely to expire on the December 26 which is also a public holiday; should he or she remain in custody without judicial sanction of staying in custody beyond the 48 hours?” he asked.

Mr. Kpebu is, therefore, asking the Apex Court to make a “declaration on a true and proper interpretation of Article 14 (3) of the Constitution (1992) that certain courts must be made to sit on Saturdays, Sundays or any other day that the courts are ordinarily unable to sit due to strikes, civil unrest and other circumstances not contemplated, in order for the court to hear applications for bail”.

He also asked the court to declare that “on a true and proper interpretation of article 14 (3) of the 1992 Constitution section 4 of the Public Holidays Act (Act 601) is inconsistent with article 14 (3) and is void to the extent of that inconsistence only.”


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