The Republic v Gorman and Others (2004) AHRLR 141 (GhSC 2004)

"Drawing on our general analysis of the law above, we summarize our holdings as follows: 1. The constitutional presumption of innocence embedded in article 19(2)(c) of the 1992 Constitution does not import an automatic right to bail. 2. The constitutional duty of the Court under article 14(4) of the Constitution, to grant bail to the accused if he is not tried within a reasonable time, is applicable irrespective of the nature of the accusation or the severity of the punishment upon conviction. 3. In the cases falling outside the direct duty to grant bail under 14(4), there is a constitutional presumption of grant of bail drawn from the spirit of the language of articles 14(1) and (3), and 19(2)(c), in further protection of persons charged with offences in situations which do not mandate the grant of bail. 4. The said constitutional presumption of grant of bail is rebuttable; and it is in fact rebutted by a statutory provision that expressly disallows bail, such as the circumstances outlined in section 96(7) of the Criminal Procedure Code. 5. Outside the strictures of section 96(7) of the Code and article 14(4) of the Constitution, the presumption of the grant of bail is still extant, and is exercised under judicial discretion which is itself fettered by other provisions of section 96. 6. There is no prima facie inconsistency between the relevant provisions of the Code and the 1992 Constitution. 7. Considerations of the nature of an accusation and the severity of punishment upon conviction, as part of the decision not to grant bail under section 96(5) and (6), are constitutional; and that the gravity of an offence may be viewed as an aid in understanding and categorizing the nature of an accusation. 8. The Court of Appeal, in arriving at its judgment of 3 March, 2004 to rescind bail in this matter, at variance with the judgment in the Benneh case to grant bail, did not violate the constitutional provision on stare decisis; and 9. The Supreme Court is not bound by the specific result of the Benneh case since the factual contexts are distinguishable.

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