Punishment should come after conviction. This is the dictate of justice and common sense. There is no need to have independent and impartial tribunals if the accused did not have the right to presumption of innocence. Judges and magistrates are trained and paid to afford fair hearing to all cases within a reasonable time.
Section 24 Subsection 3 a) of the Constitution states that “Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he or she is proved or has pleaded guilty.”
Since every innocent person has a right to liberty, a person who is presumed innocent equally has a right to liberty, save the undertaking of reasonable security to ensure court appearance when required. To unreasonably and unjustifiably restrict the liberty of a person who is presumed to be innocent puts into question the independence and impartiality of a magistrate or judge.
How a magistrate or judge dispose of bail applications has a lot to do in determining whether justice will ultimately be seen to be done. Every decision on bail application shall be subjected to a hearing before the court of public opinion. Hence those who make such decisions should rely on reasons which could stand the test of justice before the court of public opinion otherwise one would be indicted by history when one is long gone into the wilderness of eternity.
Foroyaa is sometimes overwhelmed by the type of cases which are considered security breaches. Investigative journalism has independently served to provide information to people on all sides of a spectrum to know what is on the other side. Information on threats to personal security could only have the effect of alerting a probable victim to take greater care. Rumours are often followed by distrust of future rumours if they proved to be unfounded. No one gains credibility by spreading what is found to be untrue. The loss of integrity and credibility which goes with the spreading of false information is sufficient punishment for the perpetrator.