bail

Bail grant to former First Lady of Lesotho: court finds 'gross irregularities'

Lesotho's former first lady, Maesaiah Thabane, third wife of the country's former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, has been charged with murdering her predecessor, the former PM's second wife. Though Maesaiah was granted bail by the country’s Acting Chief Justice, an Appeal Court bench – consisting of three ‘outside’ judges – has now found the bail decision tainted by ‘gross irregularities’.

For relatives and friends of Lipolelo Thabane, Lesotho’s former first lady, murdered in 2017, the question of whether bail was validly granted to one of the suspects in her killing was a matter of personal safety and ensuring the integrity of the eventual trial.

Parliament’s ‘contempt’ raised in challenge to Tanzania’s bail-ban laws

Tanzania’s bail laws have been brought into line with the country’s constitution, following an application by a member of the legal profession. But in the aftermath of the decision there’s confusion and concern, mostly related to the appeal noted by the government the day after judgment was delivered this week. The high court judgment by three judges deals with the problem that the law makes certain offences ‘unbailable’. How does this square with judicial discretion, the petitioner asked.

Read judgment

The litigant who put his finger on the bail issue and brought it to court was a Tanzanian advocate, Dickson Sanga. His complaint was that the Criminal Procedure Act’s provisions relating to a growing list of offences as ‘non-bailable’, infringed the constitution.

“Raging” debate on bail sorted by Tanzania’s highest court

When members of a country’s highest judicial forum speak of a dispute that is “raging” in the courts there, readers should take note. Obviously, something important is going on. In the case of Mwita Joseph Ikoh and two co-accused, that “something” is the issue of which court has jurisdiction to consider whether they may be given bail: the high court, or the specialised division of the high court that deals with corruption and economic crimes. Earlier this month the Court of Appeal decided the question – and the “raging” debate should now be settled.

Read the judgment on TanzLII

As the rest of Tanzania was getting ready for year-end celebrations in December 2017, six people in the Mwanza region found themselves in deep trouble. Instead of spending time at home over the holiday they were in jail, after being arrested in relation to drugs charges. The six now find themselves charged under the Drug Control and Enforcement Act with trafficking in “precursor chemicals”.

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