How do Matters Reach the Court?
Matters reach the Court when they are filed at the Magistrates Registry. There are either civil or criminal in nature. The majority of Civil matters are filed by the Lawyer on the behalf of the Plaintiff and the Commissioner of Police for the crown in the case of criminal matters.
Filing a claim in a Civil Suit is the first stage of proceedings. These cases are lodged and dated.The matters are then entered into the order books, and given a Suit number and date of hearing.
Judgment debtors summonses are the second stage, and commitment summonses are the last stage before the person can apply for a warrant of commitment. These are filed in separate registers, and given a number and date of hearing. They are then given to the typist for the particular district, who will then type the summonses. Upon return from the typist, the complaint along with the summonses, is then sent to the magistrate for the district for signature. After signature, the complaint along with the summonses is returned to the Filing Clerk, who will then separate the complaints from the summonses. The complaints are then filed in the complaints' register and the summonses in the summons' register. These are then placed in the suits cupboard in the date appointed for hearing.
Criminal and Traffic Cases
Upon receipt at the Registry, the complaints are dated and given to the Typist of the particular districts who would then type Summonses, which are attached to the complaint. They are then sent to the magistrate for signature. On return from the magistrate, the same complaint, along with summonses, are then given to the clerks of court, who will then file these in the order books. The clerks then enter the judgments in the order books. The monthly statistics are prepared. These statistics are then typed, dispatched and filed. The disposed cases are then stored in the cupboards in bundles according to the month of disposal.
How does a person "get" bail?
A cash bail may be imposed on an accused person for a number of reasons. The police on bringing a charge before the court would consent, or refuse, or consent with the conditions. A cash bail may be imposed if the court is of the opinion that the accused person may abscond.
When a person is granted cash bail, the magistrate makes a record of this on the back of the complaint and passes it to the clerk of the court who then enters the complaint in the order book and gives it a number. When this is done the cashier collects the amount of the cash bail and issues the accused person with a receipt; he/she also makes a note of the payment in the order book in which the charge is filed.
Upon the adjudication of the case, the accused is either refunded if the case is dismissed, or if fined the money is transferred from the Holding Account to the Fines Account for payment of the fine imposed by the magistrate.
In some instances, the cash bail may be paid by some other who is not the accused, when this is done, upon the final adjudication of the case, the person who paid the cash bail will be refunded. If the accused is fined he/she then has to pay same, if not a warrant is issued for imprisonment, if not paid in the specified time.
In the case of Ordinary Bail, once the Police have no objection to bail, the magistrate can grant bail and determines:
(1) The conditions of bail based on the likelihood of the defendant reappearing at court,
(2) The likelihod of committing further offences,
(3) Interference with witnesses, or
(4) Other obstructions to the course of justice.
The number of sureties required may be one or two.
When the sureties come to sign the bail bond, an identification card is requried for amounts less than three thousand dollars ($3,000.00), whereas amounts in excess of three thousand dollars ($3,000.00), the sureties are usually vetted by the Court. When the surety signs, the accused is free to go.
If the accused is on remand and bail is opened to them, the magistrate's office would make up a Production Order signed by the magistrate, and presented along with the Bail Bond to the prison, where the accused would then be released.