Our research showed that 82% of the people surveyed who did make a bail application, did not succeed. The majority of this 82% were first time offenders, or people committing non-violent and less serious crimes; offences that should prima facie be given bail.
In order for us to gain a better understanding of the main reasons Magistrates are denying bail applications and for the Magistrates to gain a better understanding of the common difficulties experienced by those going through the legal process we organised a discussion group/training for Magistrates from Blantyre and the surrounding areas.
We have recently received funding from the FCO Bilateral Programme to run three training sessions for police officers from Blantyre, Limbe and South Lunzu. We aim to gain a better understanding of the main reasons police officers are not granting police bail or explaining the right to bail.
During these training sessions, we will encourage the police officers to make use of the toll free advice line and provide arrested persons with a booklet or access to a phone, provided by CHREAA, to call the paralegal advice line.