By M. Alieu Inscandari Esq…
THE STATE V. ALIE KABBA:-Reflections on the denial of bail for defendant.
I am not an Alie Kabba supporter but a firm believer in justice. While in Freetown, i have been following the matter of the State vs Alie Kabba and I am aghast that bail was denied him in this case and Ido fail to see the basis of such denial. It is alleged that this defendant committed Bigamy by marrying the complaining witness, a sitting minister and member of cabinet, while his last marriage was still extant and valid. He was allegedly invited to the Criminal Investigations Department CID and then detained by the Sierra Leone Police. Bail was later approved and paid for, his travelling documents got confiscated. He appeared in court ,as Instructed, and he was denied bail and remanded at the PadembaRoad Maximum Prisons.
The thrust of this post is to highlight the issues relating to the grant or denial of bail. The grant or denial of bail is an issue that has constitutional importance because it affects rights that are quite fundamental such as the restraint on freedom. The purpose of bail is to ensure the appearance of the accused at subsequent calendared hearings. It’s as simple as that.
In the case at bar, it appears to me that the denial of bail was an arbitrary and capricious act by the bench sans any legally cognizable rational.
If the defendant has been granted bail a priori and he has not violated any of the terms of bail, appeared as instructed to court, then there should have been no reason for the denial of bail under the circumstances. Bail is a matter of RIGHT and is a constitutional issue.
It appears however that in cases with a political twinge, bail is normally denied and in these cases the basis of such denial is punitive and does not follow the law.
The complaining witness’ actions may hay have contributed to the acts of bigamy herein complained off, to the extent that in my humble opinion, said witness failed to ask the defendant to produce a certificate of divorce prior to marriage. To that extent the complaining witness, herself being an educated person, may have been negligently culpable in the commission of said crime, since in the absence of a valid divorce decree, she could have rescinded her consent to marry.
I am not herein making any arguments in support or against either side, my only mission is to point out that as odious a character as Alie Kabba is, he is still entitled to be treated fairly under the law and in his case denial of bail is punitive and injudicious.
Thus I proffer, that the issue of bail must be revisited and that the Law Reform Commission must look into this very important matter that has such strong constitutional conceptions.
If we are to advance as a society of laws, we must with immediate effect look into these issues that are troubling in our judicial body politics and address them with all alacrity. This man has not been charged with murder or high treason, he is not a danger to society based on these facts and he MUST be given bail.