Accused persons have no right to bail: Imalwa

02 Dec 2014 14:50pm
By Paulus Shiku
SWAKOPMUND, 02 DEC (NAMPA) – Accused persons do not have the right to bail, only the right to apply for bail, Prosecutor-General (PG) Martha Imalwa stressed.
“An accused has no right to bail, there is no such right in terms of our constitution.
They have the right to approach the courts and apply for bail – there’s no entitlement,” she told Nampa on Tuesday on the sidelines of the 8th Annual Prosecutor’s Conference underway in Swakopmund.
One of the objectives of the conference is to sensitise public prosecutors on how to effectively deal with issues of bail and gender-based violence (GBV).
Imalwa noted that prosecutors should not allow themselves to be convinced that accused persons have the right to bail without applying for it.
Prosecutors must also understand that complainants do not have the right to withdraw cases.
The PG said sometimes complainants feel that they can just withdraw cases, but that is not how it works. It is not the complainant’s case, but a case between the State and the accused.
A complainant is a witness just like any other witness. Therefore, public prosecutors are not bound by the request of the complainant to withdraw a case.
“A complainant is a competent and comparable witness.
In terms of the Criminal Procedures’ Act, if he/she refuses to tell the court about the information they have about the case, they could be convicted and send to jail,” explained Imalwa.
The five-day conference commenced on Monday under the theme ‘Be the change, make a difference’.
It is being attended by 112 public prosecutors from all over Namibia.
Imalwa said the event is aimed at capacitating public prosecutors - especially those who just joined the profession - on how to deal with the issues of prosecution.
The conference will see experienced advocates and psychologists from Namibia and neighbouring South Africa share their experiences and teach the new prosecutors how to do their jobs well.
Topics on the agenda include how to conduct investigations on GBV; the leading of vulnerable witnesses; forensic evidence in GBV; commercial crimes; and corruption.
“We are here to inform them to take their work seriously and serve the nation, especially the poor people who need our help.
We need to change our attitudes and behaviours in how we do things, work together and have a vision and strategy in order to make a difference,” the PG noted.