POLICE AND THE PUBLIC
Must I pay some money in order to take a person on bail?
Bail is a surety Or recognizance taken by a person duly authorised for the appearance of the person suspected or accused. The suspect or accused is released from custody on conditions stipulated in the recogni- zance. The condition may include his giving financial security, in case of default.
Once bail is granted, it becomes the duty of the surety to ensure that the accused appears, at a given day and place, to be tried. If the accused jumps bail i.e. absconds and refuses to appear in court, or at the police station as the case may be, the surety must produce him or in the alternative satisfy the obligation of paying the security on which terms the accused or suspect was released.
The procedure of how and when bail is to be granted is govemed by statute. Bail could be granted before trial or after conviction pending appeal. For the former, bail could be granted by the police in the police station or by a court of law having jurisdiction.
Under the law, the police may grant bail to a suspect in the police station on the condition that he reports in the station at the days stipulated in the recognizance until investigation to his case is concluded. The police may also grant bail to a suspect on condition that he appears in a magistrate court on a given day. Under these two conditions the police must have arrested the suspect without warrant.
The condition which the police must impose in exercise of this power is discretionary. It must, however, be reasonable and aimed at ensuring the appearance of the suspect in the police station or place of trial at a given time and place.
Bail before conviction can also be granted by a trial court having jurisdiction, if the offence is bailable. Courts have a discretion to or not to grant bail. Courts must be satisfied that the accused must appear for his trial. It therefore, imposes discretionary conditions to ensure the appearance of the accused. Such terms or conditions, normally, require that the accused present a surety and the payment of security.
Bail after conviction is rarely granted. Courts are usually cautious before granting bail after conviction. There must be special circumstance before the grant is made.
In your question you did not state whether it is in the police station or law court that you were required to pay money before taking a person on bail. However, the conditions at both places are normally the same. In answer to your question, you must not pay money before taking a person on bail. The amount of money stipulated as security is not paid in advance. It is paid when the suspect or accused refuse’s to appear at the given time and place and you, the surety fails to produce him.
It is unfortunate that people go about saying that they paid some amount in order to take a person on bail at the police station. If this is true, it is a case of misapplication of the law which is wrong. The police can, under our law, grant a suspect bail because they recognize him or on the production of surety. In other words, a suspect may be released with or without a surety provided that the police is satisfied that he will appear as directed.