Case: The Republic vs. Gorman and Others (7 July 2004)

The case ‘The Republic vs. Gorman and Others’ decided by the Court of Appeal raised the issue of granting and refusing bail in Ghana.

Devin Dinsdale Gorman and five others were arraigned before the Greater Accra Regional Tribunal on 28 January 2004 on narcotic charges of several types. All of the defendants were granted bail with special conditions on 3 February. However, on request of the Attorney-General’s office the bail was subsequently suspended. This had the result of reviving the issue of bail in Ghana.

Both the Criminal Procedure Code (1960) and the Constitution (1992) set basic standards: A person is innocent until proven guilty. Art. 14 of the Constitution grants bail in case a person is not tried within a reasonable time. However, bail is refused under certain circumstances. The first is when the defendant does not appear in court.Furthermore, both the rights of individuals and the safety of the community have to be considered. As such, the courts consider the gravity and nature of the crime,  the probability of the conviction and the question whether the defendant is liable to a serious punishment. After considering this mixture of factors it is determined if bail is to be granted.

In the special case of the Republic vs. Gorman and others there is no miscarriage of the court. Furthermore an unreasonable delay is unapparent. Therefore the court upheld the decision to refuse bail. However, the case reiterated the importance of considering each case individually when determining bail.