Post Conviction Bail in Nigerian Jurisprudence
24 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2016 Last revised: 20 Oct 2016
Date Written: August 24, 2016
The procedure for applying for bail pending appeal under the Nigerian Criminal Justice System is by motion. It is a prayer orally, but mostly through an affidavit stating clearly the grounds of the appeal for bail, to the Appellate Court. The combined statutory authority of the Appellate court and the seemingly unfettered judicial discretion given to it in the determination of what constitutes ‘exceptional circumstances’ to merit its discretion in favour of the convict, leaves the Appellant/Applicant with a herculean task indeed. The review of recent Court of Appeal and Supreme Court holdings in this work did show that these courts are not bound to follow previous decisions, (precedents) but their own interpretation of the case at hand. In unmistakable terms, Ayoola, JSC, in Abacha v. State, stated succinctly that ‘in matters of discretion previous decisions can only offer broad guidelines.’ as each exercise of discretion depends on the facts of each case. Given the finding that Nigerian laws on bail can be found in diverse and conflicting legal instruments, a case has been made for a comprehensive bail code ‘which will extract and merge the best of current provisions and incorporate new ideas and trends.’ This will certainly make the bail pending appeal process in our criminal justice system, more transparent, certain and predictable.
Keywords: Post conviction bail, Nigerian Criminal Justice System, Statutory legislation, Judicial discretion
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation