In Zimbabwe, the operation of bail in criminal matters is governed by the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07] in particular section 115 to section 135. Bail is a temporary release of an accused person from police custody or prison granting them liberty, upon payment of a sum of money or on specific conditions ordered by a court. This can be referred to as “Chibatiso” in Shona vernacular.
What many people may not know is that bail in Zimbabwe is refundable, meaning that the accused person should receive a full refund of the bail amount if they attend all their court appearances and comply with the bail conditions such as reporting to police station, surrendering travel documents or providing surety in the form of title deeds of your immovable property or any specific condition. This article will explain how bail is refundable in Zimbabwe.
Bail is non-penal in character. Its main purpose is to ensure that an accused person attends trial and does not flee from justice. If an accused person attends all their court appearances and complies with the bail conditions, they are entitled to a full refund of the bail amount. This fully indicates that bail money does not belong to the court or the complainant.
The bail refund may take some time to process, but it is usually returned to the accused person or their surety at any of the following stages;
- when the criminal charges have been withdrawn by either the state or the complainant
- if the accused has been convicted (found guilty)
- if the accuse person has been acquitted (not guilty)
Despite the sentence given to a convicted person, they remain entitled to the release of the money they paid as bail or the personal documentations surrendered. However, bail money will be refunded without any interest and in most cases, it would have decreased depending on the fluctuating economic rates.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.