There must be some minimal standard by which bail setting for rape is determined

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Dear Editor

The media reported that when they appeared at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, charged with rape, bail was granted to Kevin Clarke in the sum of $30,000, Nicholas Ishri in the sum of $75,000 and Tameshwar Persaud in the sum of $150,000. Is this a joke? Surely there must be some minimal standard by which bail setting for rape is determined?

Typically, the bail amount should be high enough to be taken seriously as well as to ensure a defendant shows up in court after being released from jail. The bail of these three accused is neither. As well in rape cases, a magistrate or judge should add the condition that the defendant must not attempt to contact the person who is accusing him/her of the crime. But with such  ridiculous bail, the accused themselves will know that their alleged crimes were not taken seriously and can thus choose to then intimidate and/or buy off the alleged victims into silence, as often happens in Guyana.

As well, wasn’t the Sexual Offences Court set up to strictly deal with all cases of rapes and sexual assault? So why is this case been dealt with in a Magistrate’s Court? A Sexual Offences Court, with one branch each in Essequibo and Berbice takes away from the purpose of the court. Such a court must be fully decentralised so it can operate throughout the nation. Thus, the need for mobile units in each region to service all courts. This will ensure that all the resources offered are available to the court to offer in every instance, to the victims and perpetrators, and that bail reflects the seriousness of the crime.

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Regards
Annan Boodram



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