Penalised for poverty: The unfair assessment of ‘flight risk’ in bail hearings
Keywords:bail, flight risk, criminal procedure
AbstractThe purpose of bail must be evaluated in light of the purpose of pre-trial detention. Bail is not intended as a punitive measure. The Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 contains various factors that guide a court in determining whether it is in the interests of justice to grant bail. Unfortunately, by giving undue weight to certain factors and ignoring others, courts have been known to deny bail on the basis that a lack of sufficient assets owned by accused persons means that they are likely to be flight risks. This is arguably unfair discrimination in terms of relevant Constitutional rights.
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