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Understanding bail system in Zimbabwe’s criminal law published on 26 July 2017

What is bail?

After making a report to police about someone’s alleged criminal activity knowing that they have been arrested, most times provides a sort of comfort and reassurance in the justice system.

Many times this comfort is stripped away when you see the same person walking down the streets and resuming their lives, sometimes as early as the day they were arrested and other times months after they were convicted.

This is because when a person has been charged with a crime and arrested, they often have the option to apply for bail either in writing or verbally and if this bail is granted it means the accused person will be released from police custody pending trial.

What this involves is that they pay some money to the court or sometimes to the police as surety that although they have been released they will still appear in court for their trial.

The expectation is that throughout the duration of the trial they will be going to court from home.

Sometimes even after a person has been convicted or more simply put, found guilty of a crime, they may apply for bail pending appeal.

The frequently made assumption is that once someone is released on bail they are automatically not guilty of the crime they are being charged with.

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