We are very glad to announce that the Charities Aid Foundation has just approved a £3,000 donation from Matrix Chambers to The Malawi Bail Project. This extremely generous donation will pay for CHREAA to run the Bail Education Pilot Project in Blantyre High Court and Magistrate Courts in Blantyre and the surrounding area for the next year.
The funding will also enable us to run training sessions with Magistrate’s in Blantyre, where we will discuss the issues surrounding bail which are experienced by those going through the legal process. The paralegals will continue their work with the police units in Blantyre, training them in correct police bail procedures and discouraging bribery and the use of violence to force confessions. We hope this training will encourage co-operation between the courts, the police, the prison service and CHREAA, supporting capacity building within the criminal justice system.
Most importantly, this funding will allow us to distribute booklets and audio tapes to Magistrate’s Courts and Police Units in Blantyre, which inform those going through the court process about the court procedure and their basic legal rights, primarily focusing on the right to bail, including how and when to make a bail application. By educating those accused of their legal rights at the beginning of the legal process, either at the police station or on their first court appearance, we hope to increase the number of bail applications made and subsequently reduce the number of remandees in pre-trial detention.
We are incredibly grateful to Matrix Chambers for giving us the opportunity to carry out what we believe will be an extremely successful project preventing a huge number of people in conflict with the law, from suffering the same injustices those currently in pre-trial detention are forced to endure every day.