Lawyers have petitioned the Constitutional court seeking to  scrap cash bail conditions that Courts impose on  suspects without first investigating whether they have the capacity to pay.

The group led by Amos Kuuku from  Ssetimba and Company Advocates and some of the affected persons,  argues  that the practice of imposing cash bail does not only  curtail the suspects’ right to freedom but also contributes to congestion in prison.

Accordingly, the petitioners want  court to declare that section 78(b) of the Magistrates Court Act which empowers Magistrates to grant cash bails to suspects is inconsistent with Articles 21 , 28 and 126 of the Constitution which relate to dispensing justice to all manner of people regardless of their economic situation.

Lawyer Kuuku contends after a suspect has fulfilled other conditions including producing substantial sureties,  proving his  fixed place of residence , undertaken not to abscond and to interfere with witnesses and investigations, should be allowed to regain his freedom.

According to the lawyer, the bond that is imposed on  sureties should be enough to satisfy court that the suspect will return to court for trial.

In their petition filed against the Attorney General, the victims want the Constitutional Court to order the  release of all prisoners who are still on remand for having failed  to raise cash bail money and also  to compensate them for damage suffered.

Kasule added that that on top of selling their properties to meet the bail conditions, the process of reclaiming the same upon conclusion of the case  is tedious.

The Attorney General is yet to be summoned to defence on behalf of the government before the pretrial conference can start.

According to the Judiciary report of 2021, the institution was stuck with more than 26 billion shillings collected in form of cash bail which was not claimed by suspects  after disposal of their cases. Some people when granted bail have had to seek for revision of the terms because of the failure to afford the monies asked from them.


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