''A critique on the operation of the Bail system in Zambia with regard to sureties''

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Sharpe, Nicola Ann
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The right to be at liberty is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the modern constitutions of all civilised countries.In spite of this,emphasis has now been shifted from the individual to the community and as such,has struck a balance between individual liberty and social control. To this effect,the penal law is meant to pr otect society from the felonies committed by criminals.As against this, criminal jurisprudence is founded on the principle that even an accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. It is from these conflicting concepts that the modern Law of Bails has evolved. To this effect, this essay is a study of the operation of the bail system in the administration of criminal justice in Zambia. A serious study of this institution is necessary because the period before trial is too important to be left to guesswork and caprice.The fact that many accused persons are remanded in custody raise disturbing questions as to the validity of the criteria used by magistrates in bail decisions, especially in determining or assessing the suitability of sureties.An accused person is seldom granted bail on his own recognisance. This practice demands the production of a surety or sureties as a condition of the accused's release.Certain factors are considered in assessing these sureties suitability.These factors are both judicial and social.The problem that arises here is the relevance of some of these factors.On the other hand,the tact that an accused can be granted bail on his own recognisance also raises disturbing questions as to the necessity of sureties. Furthermore,the contribution that sureties have made to criminal law in protecting or preventing an accused person from absconding trial is questionable. Generally,this paper proposes to investigate the problems and ambiguities faced by both the magistrates and the accused person (s) when the issue of bail arises.There are basically four chapters in this essay.The first chapter primarily introduces the bail system in Za mbia with regard to its background,justification and purpose. Chapter two discusses the general principles relating to the Law of Bails.It is in this section that the criteria upon which magistrate rates base there bail decisions will be determined. Various other issues,for instance bailable and non-bailable offenses, will be looked into. Chapter three deals with the various issues, inter alia, the necessity of sureties,an analysis of a magistrate's discretion in assessing the suitability of sureties and also the general inconsistency of the law in the way bail cases are handled. The last section ,chapter four, concludes this essay,Suggestions for reforms are given here.
Bail-Zambia , Justice, Administration of-Zambia