The Malawi High Court has granted bail to three of four applicants SALC is representing in a case challenging unreasonable bail and detainment.
However, the court refused to grant bail to the fourth detainee, who has been imprisoned for nine years, on the ground that he will be tried within two weeks. Regardless of the period to trial, the refusal is unjust because the detainee has a presumption of innocence.
In the case, SALC seeks to determine whether the ‘interest of justice’ test dictates the applicants’ release, at what level bail ought to be set, whether the applicants have been detained for an unreasonable time, and whether an unreasonable period of detainment is relevant to the granting of bail. Because this case is being heard before the High Court, any judgment will be of precedent value.
The timeline for trial depends on the High Court administration. However, arguments are expected to be heard within the next several weeks.