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|Title:||An Appraisal of Emerging Issues in the Law and Practice Relating to Bail, Bondspersons and Forfeiture of Recognizance in Nigeria.|
|Authors:||Udemezue, Sylvester C.|
Ojeih, Chukwunye Augusta
|Abstract:||A basic constitutional right of a suspect who is held in the custody of any law enforcement agency, on allegations of commission of any offence not punishable with death, or who is arraigned in court on criminal charges, is the right to bail. This right is predicated on the principle that any person accused of or charged with the commission of a criminal offence is presumed innocent unless and until his guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. Thus, every person suspected, accused of or charged with commission of a crime may be admitted to bail, pending the final determination of the case against him. In exceptional circumstances, bail may be granted also to a person who has been found guilty of a criminal offence, pending the determination of his subsisting or proposed appeal. Actual grant of bail by a court of law is discretionary which discretion must be exercised judicially and judiciously, and more often than not, an order granting the accused person bail is made either unconditionally or subject to some conditions usually referred to as the terms of bail, which may include self-recognizance, entering into a bond, deposit of money or production of some surety, sureties or bondspersons. Depending on the circumstances and the disposition of the court, these conditions are considered necessary in order to guarantee the availability of the accused person to face his trial, until the final determination of the charge against him. Where an accused person who is granted bail upon production of sureties or bondspersons, jumps bail, there is an obligation on the part of the surety/bondsperson to produce the accused person; else the surety may be liable to show cause before the Police or the court why the surety should not be made to forfeit the recognizance he entered into as a condition for admitting the accused person to bail. A lot of controversies and confusions has has arisen from the practice and use of bondspersons, the abscondment of an accused persons who is on bail, the practice of revocation of bail and forfeiture of recognizance in Nigeria. This paper is aimed to explain as well as examine the law and practice as they relate to grant of bail to suspects in the custody of law enforcement agencies, persons charged to court on commission of criminal offences, the use of recognizance, sureties or bondspersons in Nigeria, jumping of bail and and the concept of forfeiture of recognizance in Nigeria. The aim of the authors is twofold; to clarify the law and principles for the benefits of all practitioners and stakeholders in criminal justice administration, and to examine the practical application of the law in this filed with a view to determining to what extant the practice in Nigeria is in tandem with extant law, reasonableness, and modernity as well as the extent of conformity of the law in Nigeria to international best practices.|
|Appears in Collections:||Research Articles|
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