Bail is a temporal release of an accused person or a suspect from lawful custody on the understanding that the accused /suspect will appear subsequently to stand trial. When bail is granted a suspect or an accused person is granted temporal release from custody pending the conclusion of investigation or the determination of a case in court or the determination of an appeal against conviction.
Bail in Cameroon therefore arise at three stages:
- The police may release a suspect on bail pending further investigation.
- The court may release an accused person on bail pending the determination of the case against him.
- The court may release a convicted person on bail pending the determination of his appeal against the conviction.
The logical inference is bail in Cameroon can be granted either at the police/gendarmes, the state counsel or the court of law depending on whether the offence is simple, misdemeanor, capital or felony.
The Criminal Procedure Code in Cameroon recognizes two types of bail:
- Self-Bail – Section 222 CPC
- Conditional Bail – Section 224 CPC
In general, the following factors are usually considered in the grant or refusal of bail in Cameroon:
- The gravity of the offence and the severity of the penalty.
- The criminal antecedent of the accused person
- The likelihood that the accused person if admitted on bail will not interfere with police investigation.
- The likelihood of the accused person committing an offence while on bail.
- The health condition of the accused person
- The social/ Responsibility nature of the accused person.
In conclusion, when an application for bail is made at the court of first instance and it is refused, a further application can be made at the High Court. The terms of bail in Cameroon must not be difficult for the accused person to fulfil as it will be construed as denial. An accused person who is granted bail should not jump bail otherwise his/her bail terms may be revoked and a remand warrant issued for their apprehension.
Article by Barr. Mafany Victor Ngando
“The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstance”