Judge rejects excuse

National

By DAPHNE WANI
A SENIOR judge says some “well-to-do or high-level” people jailed for serious offences apply for bail grounded on their medical conditions “to avoid serving time in jail”.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia made the observation yesterday in the Supreme Court when refusing bail for Western Governor Ati Wobiro, former Western provincial administrator Dr Mudowa Gumoi and businessman Norman Carl May.
The three had appealed against their 10-year jail terms handed down last Friday for conspiracy to defraud and misappropriation of more than K7 million of public funds. Their lawyer applied for bail while they awaited the hearing of the appeal.
Sir Salamo said: “A common practice has developed over time that in just about every application for bail involving well-to-do or high-level people imprisoned for serious offences, bail applications are grounded on medical conditions to avoid serving time in jail.
“If bail is or were granted for medical conditions willy-nilly, without carefully considering the nature and extent of the medical conditions, then many prisoners would be released on bail. And as a consequence, (they) avoid serving time for their wrongdoing.
“That defeats the purpose and interest of justice that have been achieved in the criminal process.”
Sir Salamo said the practice called for a close scrutiny of the medical information and those supporting the medical information.
He said this would ensure only medical conditions that constitute special situations which were life-threatening “qualify as special circumstances warranting grant of bail”.

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