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07.05.2008 Crime & Punishment

Police Protest Over Bail For Armed Robbers

By Francis Asamoah Tuffour - newtimesonline.com

THE Accra Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Kwaku Ayensu Opare-Addo, has protested against the rate at which suspected criminals are granted bail by courts through motion filing.

This is the second time that the Police Commander is speaking on the issue.

The first was when he was the Brong-Ahafo Regional Police Commander, where he threatened to stop police prosecutors from attending courts due to the spate at which criminals were granted bail.

At that time, DCP Opare-Addo said the phenomenum was making it difficult for the police to fight crime.

Speaking to the Times in Accra yesterday, the commander said that available statistics in the Accra Regional police command alone indicates that within a matter of two years, that is, from 2006 to date, over 60 suspected criminals have been granted bail.

He said the situation is very disturbing, most especially, when some of these alleged criminals come back to commit more heinous crimes including the killing of innocent people.

DCP Opare-Addo cited one Daniel Oko Ocran, alias Mechanti or Bibo, who was arrested by the police on Sunday, May 4, together with other accomplices for snatching a taxi cab.

The suspect was put before court, remanded in prison custody but was granted bail, the police command said.

He said Ocran is back in society and can do worse things.

He also mentioned Suleman Bawa, a notorious armed robber, who was shot dead in a shoot-out with the police somewhere in November, 2007 after snatching a car at Dansoman.

That was after he had been arrested and granted bail by the court.

DCP Opare-Addo mentioned armed robbery, murder, hijacking, rape, defilement and escape from lawful custody, among others, as some of the grievious offences that do not require bail.

Quoting section 96 (7) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1960, he said that a court shall refuse to grant bail in a case of murder, hijacking, rape, defilement, or escape from lawful custody.

DCP Opare-Addo, who is also a legal practitioner, said even though the Judges hold or have the discretion to grant bails after hearing, the clause ‘shall’ in the criminal procedure code, makes it absolute, unconditional to grant bail to such criminals.

He, therefore, appealed to the courts not to grant bail to suspected criminals when they are brought before them even when motions are filed seeking for their release.

He said in so doing, it will give the police ample time to conduct thorough investigation into the circumstances that such persons were arrested and as such when they are sentenced, will serve as a deterrent to others and create room for them to reform.

'In some instances, some of these criminals who are granted bail are re-arrested for their involvement in other crime related offences.'

'They come back to engage in very serious criminal activities including robbery and killing of people,' DCP Opare-Addo, said.

He noted that the sad thing is that society later come back to blame the police for not working or doing their work properly to apprehend criminals.

Meanwhile, the Regional Police Command has mounted a search for 15 suspected criminals who rob and terrorise people within the Accra metropolis and beyond.

Their names were given as Fifi, Kwabena, Junior, Adorine, Jojo, Iseal, Solonga and Nii Amoo. The rest are Ebenezer Ofosu, Rasta, Chief, Tony, Paa Joe and Apatete.

They are suspected to be hiding in Kaneshie, Abossey Okai, Russia, Zongo, Sukura, Swalaba, Ayigbe Town near Weija, Caprice, James Town, Sabu Zongo among others.

The command has appealed to those with information about their whereabouts to report to the nearest police station for their arrest.

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