“SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT”May 19, 2020
…bail procedure flouted?
An accused person for a $500,000 alleged fraud case, Randa Skeiky is now bluffing around as a free woman after spending two nights in remand at the Female Correction Centre. She received the blessings of Justice Komba Kamanda of the High Court who reviewed her bail conditions that she had been enjoying all this while until the lawyers for the Complainant picked up some fraudulent title deeds used to grant her bail at the Magistrate Court Number One presided over by a lady of substance in the Judiciary, Principal Magistrate Hannah Bonnie. She deserves a pat on the back for what many litigants have referred to a work well done.
The ‘Urgent Originating Notice of motion’ filed at the High Court by Lawyer Mohamed Pa Momo Fofanah has stated thus: “That this honorable Court reviews and varies the bail condition granted/imposed by the Magistrate Court presided over by Magistrate Ms. Boi-Hannah Bonnie in her Ruling on bail dated the 21st day of June, 2019 in the Matter instituted. Alie Abess Vs. Randa Skeiky (PCS 205/19) in order to ensure and enhance the appearance in Court of the Defendant/Applicant herein as and when required to do so and in the interest of justice as well.”
What however came out clearly at the High Court last Thursday was the fact that the learned Judge, Justice Komba Kamanda probably did not take into consideration Section 79 (5) and (6) of THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT OF 1965, which clearly states: “(5) A Judge may, if he thinks fit, admit any person to bail although the Court before whom the charge is pending has not thought it fit to do so. (6) The accused that is to be admitted to bail shall procure such surety or sureties as in the opinion of the Court will be sufficient to ensure his appearance as and when required, and shall with him or them enter into a recognizance accordingly.” This section of the law, according to an experienced legal practitioner, applies to those that have been granted a stiff bail condition in a lower court that is not met. Randa Skeiky’ s case is said to be a different one as she had previously enjoyed the said bail condition slammed on her when the matter commenced hearing at the Magistrate Court in June 2019.
Although the Prosecuting Lawyers presented a very strong argument on the above sections of the law, they did not secure the blessings of the judge who perhaps wanted the alleged $500,000 fraudster out of the Female Correction Centre.
The question that some Legal Commentators are asking is whether it the right laws and procedures as contained in the CPA apply to review/vary bail conditions that the Accused had enjoyed all this while at the Magistrate Court?
“Our intent is not to keep the applicant in prison indefinitely. But when her team is coming to court they must come with clean hands,” says Abu Bakarr Sheriff Esq. Legal representative for Ali Abess added that even after the Magistrate had committed the matter to the High Court, the Accused person was still on bail. “We only questioned the content of the bail document which we discovered to be fictitious. Perhaps this is why the sureties ran away,” he told the court.
The Judge, Justice Komba Kamanda said the issue of bail to be granted is an administrative issue that is determined by the Master and Registrar or her deputy. But what was expected of the Judge is perhaps to thoroughly find out as to why the Master and Registrar did not approve Randa’s bail even after her deputy had appended her signatory to approve the alleged fake documents, thus letting the accused person enjoy her freedom all this while.
By law and court procedures, production orders are issued and signed, a court dealing with a matter. The High Court has the right to review a bail condition slammed by a lower court, but it should not issue or determine the production order for an accused person standing trial in the said lower court, a Senior Lawyer remarked. An investigation conducted by this press has revealed that neither Magistrate Hannah Bonnie nor any of her court staff issued the production order. The question that remains unanswered is who signed Randa Skeiky’s production order?