by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Criminal Procedure Code outlines granting of bail to magistrate or presiding judge discretion
- Police prefer original document to grant bail
- Two-thirds of Grenadian land papers encumbered to a financial institution
Grenada’s Criminal Procedure Code outlines conditions for granting of bail which is left up to the discretion of the magistrate or presiding judge. However, criminal attorney Anselm Clouden said there are instances where police are overstepping their boundaries by denying bail granted by a judge in a case where the sufficiency of the surety is in question.
During the opening of the assizes last week Clouden raised the issue indicating that the constitutional right to bail is being infringed upon, in the case where a defendant is granted bail by a magistrate, but upon presenting documents by his/her surety to the police, Clouden said there are cases where documents are not accepted and bail denied unlawfully.
“When the magistrate grants bail, the defendant through his surety goes to the police station or court office and presents his document. The police then vet the document and from time to time refuse to grant bail on the basis that they want the original and not a certified copy of the original. Now that is unfair and it abrogates his constitutional right to liberty,” Clouden explained. “For every moment a defendant is detained unlawfully he has a right against the state for false imprisonment. Now it is the magistrate or the judge to determine whether they would accept documents, and what type of documents.”
He said the situation is further compounded since two-thirds of Grenadian land papers are saddled with a debt or mortgage to a financial institution.
“Two-thirds of Grenadian land papers are encumbered to the bank or credit union and therefore when an accused person presents a copy of that document to the police and the police refuse to accept it, the police has no authority whatsoever in law to determine the sufficiency of the surety,” he said.
Clouden suggested that in a case like aforementioned then the matter must go back to the magistrate for consideration. “It is the magistrate that granted bail, the matter must go back before her and she is to decide whether the surety is sufficient or make alternative accommodations to entertain the defendant on bail.”
Clouden is prepared to take the matter to the court of appeal if it is not addressed. Grenada is among several Caribbean countries without Bail Acts, however, conditions for the granting of bail is outlined in the Criminal Procedure Code, Cap 72 sections 47-49 and the Juvenile Justice Act 24 of 2012.
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