DPP calls for guidelines on police bond, revision of 48-hour detention rule

Justice Law and Order
DPP calls for guidelines on police bond, revision of 48-hour detention rule
Two of the suspects being taken to prison.

The discourse underscores the complex balance between ensuring public safety, protecting individual rights, and expediting legal proceedings.

KAMPALA | The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Jane Frances Abodo, has called for comprehensive guidelines on police bond, particularly for serious offenses such as terrorism.

"There are some offences you cannot give a police bond. Like terrorism," she says.

Abodo emphasised the risk of suspects absconding if granted bond hastily. She stressed the importance of establishing clear criteria delineating offenses eligible for police bond.

"We need to come up with guidelines on which offences to give bond and which ones to deny," the chief prosecutor said.

The constitutional right to a bond - and bail in the case of courts of law - for all suspects remain a highly contested matter.

And just as tetchy is the 48-hour detention period for which police are allowed to hold suspects before producing them in court.

This, too, Abodo wants to see revised, citing shortage of state attorneys as a significant impediment to timely processing of charges.

"The 48 hours should be looked on, do we have numbers?" asked the DPP.

According to Abodo, "police officers wait at the state attorneys' office and can't see these attorneys because they are busy in court and the 48 hours are gone without security charge then you say police is not investigating".

She proposed allocating two state attorneys to each judicial officer to expedite the legal process.

The debate over the 48-hour detention period has been ongoing, with human rights lawyer George Musisi questioning its necessity.

Musisi argued that instead of focusing on extending detention periods, efforts should be directed at ensuring thorough investigations within a reasonable time-frame.

He emphasised the state's responsibility to "provide adequate resources for efficient investigations", pointing out instances where cases have stalled for extended periods due to resource constraints.

"Police should refrain from making arrests until investigations are complete," he said.

His alternative is for the police to present suspects before the court promptly and then request additional time if needed. He emphasised the importance of judiciously extending detention periods when absolutely necessary.

The discourse underscores the complex balance between ensuring public safety, protecting individual rights, and expediting legal proceedings.

As stakeholders continue to deliberate on these issues, the focus remains on refining legal procedures to uphold justice while safeguarding fundamental rights.

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