Cancelation and Forfeiture of bail (Zimbabwe)

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If X breaches any of the conditions of his bail the judicial officer who admitted him to bail or the judicial officer before whom X is brought may declare the bail to be forfeited: s 133(a) CPEA.

Where X has failed to appear in court for trial (his name having been called three times both inside and outside the courtroom), the prosecutor may apply for a warrant of apprehension and for the forfeiture of X's bail and any recognizances that have been entered into: s 119 CPEA.

The court will usually refrain from ordering forfeiture of bail until X is arrested and brought before the court and asked to explain his default. The correct procedure is merely to issue a warrant for the apprehension of X. The court should only order forfeiture when, after hearing X's explanation, it is satisfied that the default was wilful or deliberate: Sibanda (1) 1980 ZLR 413 (GD). X's lawyer can appear at this hearing to explain why his client failed to appear in court for trial and to try to persuade the court not to order forfeiture of bail but instead to extend the previous bail and to set a new trial date. However, if the default of X was wilful the court is obliged to order forfeiture of bail: Knight NO v Van Tonder & Anor 1962 R & N 405 (SR).

It is impermissible for the court to order both forfeiture of bail and the imposition of a fine for failure to appear in court. This amounts to punishing X twice for the same offence: Sibanda (1) 1980 ZLR 413 (GD).


See Zimbabwe Criminal Defense Manual