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SURETIES AND THEIR RESPONSIBILITY BEFORE COURT

What is a surety?
A surety is a person who makes an appearance before a court of law during a bail application and pledges to have the accused person present at every set hearing date of a case against them upon release of the said accused person on bail.

What is bail?
Bail is a pre-trial remedy for a person standing trial before a court of law. Bail is granted by court in its opinion based on the presumption that any accused person is innocent of any charge against them until it is proven that they are indeed guilty.

When is a surety required?
A surety is required in the circumstance of an accused person making a bail application before court, as they are people that represent influence over any accused person capable to have an accused attend the hearings before a court of law once given bail.

Who can stand as surety for another?
An adult above 18 years being a person of fit and proper character before right thinking members of the public, who has established responsibility for other people in the country but also one with clear influence over any accused person.

What documents does one require in order to stand surety for another?
Usually any person standing surety for an accused person is required to have:
proper identification documents
copies of worthy recommendations from local leaders
a letter from the employer proving them to be proper and fit individuals
where a person is a foreign national in Uganda they may be required to have a certificate of good conduct adopted from interpol.

What are the duties of a surety?

A surety is expected to ensure that the accused person on bail appears for his or her hearings before the court of law.
A surety may also pledge or promise an amount of money to the court by signing a type of bond. By doing this, the surety risks losing some or all of the money they have promised to the court if the accused doesn’t follow one or more of the bail conditions or fails to show up to court when required.
A surety must make sure that the accused person obeys each condition of the bail order. Conditions may require the accused person:
to report to the police and obey a curfew
Avoid the possession of weapons
Avoid consumption of alcohol
Avoid direct or indirect communication with the victim or victim’s family. This would mean that the surety will not be permitted communication on behalf of the accused person with the victim or the victim’s family.

While before the court, a surety would be asked various questions before granting the accused bail. These questions asked are used to gauge whether:
the accused is worthy of being granted bail,  
the accused will not interfere with any investigation before court
and will not escape from the jurisdiction or mandate of court.

In cases where an accused party escapes from the country or jurisdiction of court and/or fails to appear before a court of law, their surety may lose of any money pledged before court and may also face a prison sentence where they fail to pay the pledged money.

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