Charge and bail lawyer?

You will agree with me that the title is one of the most demeaning jabs at lawyers, I think people consider it the lowest of the lowest rung of legal work. I believe what is so unappealing about it is the rampant frolicking with law enforcement officials, the over-familiarity with magistrate court officials, the fact that it’s so monotonous and there’s no opportunity for a legal practitioner to grow as a professional. It requires no real legal skills from the lawyer. But whether you are eyeing that area of the profession or not, let’s talk about bails.

Bail is simply a respite given to the suspect/accused pending his arraignment/trial/appeal to be released from police custody with certain conditions. There are 3 types of bail:

Police Bail: This one is extra-judicial and is the playing field of our beloved charge and bail lawyers. As you know suspects are usually arrested and kept in custody until the police can gather enough evidence to charge them to court. So you approach the police and say:

Oga allow this person to go home, while you investigate, if you need them anytime any day they will make themselves available; look these people can vouch for him, etc.

It is requested through a formal letter from the lawyer or law firm to the police officer in charge of the station where the suspect was detained.

When writing the letter we need to see

  • Lawyer’s details (write in letter-headed paper)
  • Suspects name and alleged crime
  • The persons standing as sureties and their relationship to each of the accused persons
  • The promise to make the person available

Bail Pending Trial (bpt): At the first court a.k.a the court of first instance, the accused will undergo something called a trial. This start with arraignment (reading the charge sheet to the accused and taking his plea). Usually after arraignment, the accused’s lawyer will apply for bail. This is bail pending trial. You are saying:

while this matter is going on, allow this fellow his temporary freedom, he will come to court when needed and show up where needed. He has so and so person worth so and so, he will not run away etc.

This kinda bail is applied for in either of 2 ways:

  • Motion on Notice + affidavit + written address In CPL, ACJL states
  • Summons + affidavit + written address in CPCL, ACJA states

The motion/summons is like any other motion/summons, just that the prayer will be for bpt of course. The koko is in the affidavit.

Also generally, the court considers certain things before granting your bail

  • Nature of Offence: For this purpose, offences are either of the below:
    • Capital (carries the death sentence) for this type of offence, a magistrate has NO power to grant to bail. It’s no contest. The only court that can consider a bail application is the High Court.
    • Felonies (offences attracting imprisonment of 3 years and above, other than the capital ones): This offence is bailable and both Magistrate and High Courts have the power to grant bail
    • Simple offences and misdemeanours (below 3 years imprisonment): This one is bailable and both courts can grant the bail
  • The likelihood that you will jump bail
  • The rampancy of the offence
  • The gravity of the offence
  • The health of the applicant: A lot of accused persons will lie say that they have one ailment or the other, that’s why they cannot stay in police custody. Well it is not just by mouth. You must
    • attach a medical report
    • show that the illness is life threatening
    • show that the ailment will affect the other inmates and
    • That the prison facilities are not good enough to take care of you.

All these are demonstrated in the affidavit.

Etc.

Note where there are more than one accused persons, you cannot lump the bail application together, each person stands alone.

Bail Pending Appeal (bpa): This one is for when the accused unfortunately was convicted at the lower court and he decides to appeal against it. While the appeal is going on, he can ask for temporary freedom. This type of bail is different form bpt, because in bpt the bail is sought on the strength of the fact that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. (Section 36 constitution) But in this bpa,

the guy don already guilty, so he is just begging to be given the benefit of doubt; the tables have now turned; we can say he is guilty until proven innocent. It is purely discretionary.

Terms of bail

The court attaches conditions to your bail, you can’t just carry your bag and be going, there are generally 4 types of terms

Self-Recognizance: It is not self-recognition oh, I’ve seen several headlines with this kind of talk. This type of bail is for bosses. I mean do you know who I am, how can I possibly jump bail. Ko possible! You are standing on the strength of your personality.

Bond: This is when the accused undertakes to pay a certain amount of money in the event that he jumps bail.

Surety with bond: You have some person (they tell you the type of person a la resident in jurisdiction, level x in civil service with property worth blah blah) who will undertake to pay some money if you jump bail

Deposit in lieu of bond: instead of promising to pay so and so if the accused jumps bail, you just go ahead and pay the money to the court and say hold, if I jump bail, use it to buy ice-cream.

So I’m sure drafting a bail application will be easy peasy now. In exams they can ask you to draft the affidavit, particularly when the person is forming sick. Remember to include all the essential information. In any case, test yourself by drafting bail application for Revi Justin who is accused of armed robbery along with Musa Banko, Samba Jumbo, at Peak Bank Owerri, Imo State. He is plagued with leprosy and wants to treat himself fast. Draft the affidavit as well.

So first and foremost, what court are we looking at? The High Court of course, because this is a caplital offence. The method will be a motion since it is in Imo state where the CPL applies.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF IMO STATE

IN THE OWERRI JUDICIAL DIVISION

HOLDEN AT OWERRI

CHARGE NO

BETWEEN

THE STATE……………………..COMPLAINANT

AND

REV JUSTIN……………………………..DEFENDANT/APPLICANT remember I said each accused must stand alone when it comes to bail…

MUSA BANKO………………………….DEFENDANT

SAMBA JUMBO……………………….. DEFENDANTS …but it doesn’t mean the others’ names are excluded, they are still parties to the suit

MOTION ON NOTICE

BROUGHT PURSUANT TO SECTION 118 (even if you dont know the relevant section, biko put dash) OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW OF IMO STATE, SECTION 33 OF THE 1999 CONSTITIUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AS AMMENDED AND UNDER THE INHERENT JURISDICITON OF THE COURT

TAKE NOTICE that this honourable court will be moved on the ___ day of ___ 2017 at the hour of 9 o’clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter as the counsel to the defendant/applicant will be heard praying the court for the following orders

  1. AN ORDER admitting the defendant/applicant to bail pending the trial of the case
  2. AND FOR SUCH FURTHER/ OTHER ORDERS as this honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances

Dated the ____ day of _____ 2017

_________

Oga D. Law

Defendant/Applicant Counsel

  1. Law Chambers

1, Admiralty way,

Owerri,

Imo State

FOR SERVICE ON:

The Department of Public Prosecutions

Ministry of Justice,

Owerri,

Imo State.

 

 

IN THE HIGH COURT OF IMO STATE

IN THE OWERRI JUDICIAL DIVISION

HOLDEN AT OWERRI

CHARGE NO

BETWEEN

THE STATE……………………..COMPLAINANT

AND

REV JUSTIN……………………………..DEFENDANT/APPLICANT

MUSA BANKO………………………….DEFENDANT

SAMBA JUMBO……………………….. DEFENDANTS

AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION ON NOTICE

I, Mary Justin, Female, Christian Nigerian Fashion Designer of 1, Abakiliki Road, Owerri, Imo state do hereby make oath and state as follows: because it is assumed that the defendant is in prison, he cannot possibly depose, so it is perfectly okay to get someone to make the oath…notice how I establish relationship, consent and knowledge in 1st– 3rd paragraph…very important

  1. That I am the wife of the 1st defendant/applicant in this case.
  2. That I have his authority to make the following deposition
  3. That the defendant applicant informed me of the following facts on the __ of ___ 2016 at the Owerri Prisons
  4. That the defendant along with the two other accused persons were arrested for allegedly committing the offence of armed robbery on the ___ at Omega Bank, Owerri
  5. The applicant was never at the scene of the crime at the relevant time, rather he was at our home for my 30th birthday celebration.
  6. The applicant is a man of good character and has contributed immensely to his community through various charitable projects, for which he was awarded the Imo state certificate of honour a copy of which is attached and marked exhibit A
  7. That the defendant was diagnosed with a rare form of leprosy and evidence of this diagnosis by a dermatologist from the Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH) hereby attached to this affidavit and marked exhibit B
  8. That the defendant informed me of the following facts and I verily believe him:
  • That the defendant has been quarantined in the prison facilities and rightly so, because according to the dermatologist’s evaluation, the disease is highly contagious.
  • That the prison facilities are not adequate to cater to his medical needs as he has not received proper attention since incarceration and the condition has since deteriorated.
  • That he will not jump bail
  • That he will do his best to be available at every court date throughout the trial.

9. That I make this oath believing same to be true in accordance with the Oath’s Law of Imo State

__________

DEPONENT

Dated the ____ day of _____ 2017

Sworn to at the High Court Registry of Imo State

BEFORE ME

_________

COMMISIONER OF OATHS

Notice paragraphs 7 and 8 of my affidavit. They show those facts that the law requires for the application to succeed, without them, you would have just wasted time. Notice also that the where the deponent is stating reported speech, she had to state the circumstances of the information she was given and that she believes it to be true.

In other discussions, do you see why they say bail is free? It’s not like you pay For the bail, you are just guaranteeing your integrity; if you comply, the money will be recovered. But let’s be honest police bail is a police affair and well we all know how they can get…

bail2.jpg

Please let me know any errors or difficulty you find here.

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2 thoughts on “Charge and bail lawyer?

  1. Capital (carries the death sentence) for this type of offence, a magistrate has NO power to grant to bail.

    Does the magistrate court have the jurisdiction in the first place

    Like

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