A Security Expert and Senior Lecturer at the Kofi Annan International Peace-Keeping Training Centre, Dr Kwesi Aning, has noted that the Supreme Court ruling that struck out non-bailable clauses from the law books of Ghana would not pose any security challenge in Ghana.
‘The ruling would not have any impact in terms of the number of crimes, the frequency of crimes or intensity of crimes because before someone is released, he or she has to meet a bail condition,” he said.
The Supreme Court on May 6, 2016 in a 5-2 majority decision, declared as unconstitutional the law that bars persons accused of certain offences from being granted bail.
It said Section 96 (7) of the Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure) Act, 1960 (Act 30), which was amended in 2002, provided that “a court shall refuse to grant bail in a case of terrorism, treason, subversion, murder, robbery, offences listed in Parts I and II of the Narcotic Drugs (Control, Enforcements and Sanctions) Law, 1990 (P.N.D.C.L. 236), hijacking, piracy, rape and defilement or escape from lawful custody or where a person is being held for extradition to a foreign country.’’
The apex court further held that the law was unconstitutional because it “was inconsistent with Article 19 (2) (c) of the 1992 Constitution and, therefore, null, void and of no effect.’’
There have been heightened public fears that the ruling could mean all remand prisoners currently in jail would soon be released onto the streets which could pose a huge security risk.
But speaking to The Mirror in an interview, Dr Aning, who admitted that the ruling could possibly have a negative impact on investigations, noted that ‘people have rights and you cannot keep them while they have not been convicted’.
He said the ruling does not mean all remand prisoners would be released but they would have to satisfy certain bail conditions to buy their freedoms.
However, another Security Expert and Analyst, Mr Ibard Ibrahim, while praising the apex court for the ruling, said if a proper non-custodial system was put in place, the unsuspecting public could be at risk of the recurrence of the crimes for which such defendants were being tried.
While calling on Ghanaians to accept the ruling with cautious optimism, he noted that if the ruling was done right, it would help de-congest the prison facilities in Ghana which were currently choked.