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Interrogating crime, criminal justice system

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Crime

Book: Victim of Crime and the Criminal Justice System
Authors: Enyeting, Patrick E., Mordi Jonathan
Published: LawLords Publication
Year: 2020

Victim of Crime and The Criminal Justice System provides insight and perspectives into the plights of crime victims, the impacts of crime in society and weaknesses of the criminal justice system.

In reviewing this book, the principal criteria include content, organisation and reference sources. While editing errors could be noticed in some of the chapters, such shortcomings are only a minor distraction that will be alleviated in the later editions.

In this ambitious work, Patrick Enyeting and the Jonathan Mordi endeavour to establish the fact that the actual victim of crime is the individual who literally suffers the direct impact of crime and the secondary victims who are the relations and family members of the primary victim, as against the state, which is an abstract entity that suffers no physical harm.

The readers are taken through the world of the criminal justice system as the work creates mental pictures in the minds of reading audience, the interdependency of the system, its weaknesses, the lacunae, which have been exploited by a criminal enterprise to escape justice.

The tone of the book reflects a learned appreciation for some interventions made in recent time to deliver justice to the primary victim of crime through the enactment of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act.

The authors set the tone for each chapter with a quote, thus, giving the readers a brief picture of the content of the chapter at a glance.

The book does not only allow the readers to easily navigate through the processes of criminal justice but also help them to understand the key actors and their roles.

Divided into 10 chapters, it opens with the concept of crime. It progresses through the rights of offenders, a victim of crime, the criminal justice administration, the police and the criminal justice system, sentencing and punishment of offenders, correctional system, community policing, alternative dispute resolution in criminal jurisprudence, and terminated at the criminal justice system in Nigeria: a critique.

The appendices conclude with a listing of terms that add colour to the work. While it is difficult to explore all topics, the footnotes and bibliography provide sources for obtaining information.

The construction of the book weaves logically into its organisation, reflecting the interdependency of the criminal justice system. Each chapter is broken into different sub-units, which typically fits logically into the topic of the chapter.

Every chapter is composed of several defining parts showing the logical transition of events from one stage to the other. Within each chapter are plethora of citations from case laws, periodicals, books, statutes and online publications, and in some cases, the authors cited their personal experiences, which give the book a touch of newness and contemporary happenings in the society.

The authors present a broad analysis of the trend in the criminal justice system, which is offender centred. The book reveals a wide disparity between the rights due to victims in the statute book and the rights they enjoy. It notes that though crime occurs because individual creates an opportunity for it, the state owes the citizens obligation to ensure their safety and security. The failure of the state to provide security makes citizens vulnerable. Thus, the state is liable to restore the victim of crime to the pre-victimisation stage.

The second and third chapters provide important rallying points of discourse. The second chapter focuses on the rights of offenders under the municipal laws and various international instruments. The authors open the chapter with a quote “commoners carry a belief that the society has turned into a hell for law-abiding citizens, but heavenly pride to offenders.”

Howbeit, the authors also recognise the fact that prisoners also suffer deprivation and custodial abuse. Similarly, the third chapter focuses on the victim of crime. The authors also open the chapter with a quote “victims should be treated with compassion and respect for their dignity. They are entitled to access to the mechanisms of justice and prompt redress, as provided for by national legislation, for the harm they have suffered.”

The chapter provides a general overview of the plight of the victim of crime especially the poor who may not have the resources to finance justice. Some of the subunits in this chapters are victimization and the impacts, victim’s right to justice, a victim of crime and access to justice, the challenges of access to justice, witness protection, criminal justice and social values, victims and dilemma of justice.

The authors take an objective look at the need to humanise the criminal justice institutions and improve service delivery to the public. Some of the areas explored include police discretion, police emotional problems and the breach of ethical values, police human rights record, law enforcement and the due diligent principle, police and criminal mediation, socio-cultural factors and the problems of implementation of community policing, a different perspective of community policing, dynamics of community policing.

They also take a look at court duty to protect the society, philosophy of punishment, non-custodial sentence and community reintegration. One of the important highlights of the book is the emphasis on the reform of the correctional system by making vocational educational training and prisoners’ economic empowerment some of the crucial reformative policy of the correctional system.

The book is well researched and well-referenced interfaced with personal experience in the field. It is an excellent resource to students, lawyers, police officers, judicial officers, prison officers, civil society and all lovers of justice. The authors’ multifaceted backgrounds establish them in a strategic position to gather and assemble key pieces of facts that span across the criminal justice chain.

Enyeting is a retired police officer. He was an investigator as well as a prosecutor for many years. He was also an Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of human rights and alternative dispute resolution in the Police. His educational accomplishment includes B.A Communication Arts, LLB, BL and LLM.

He is also a member of various professional bodies such as NBA, Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), as well as Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.

Similarly, Jonathan Mordi is an Assistant Commissioner of Police. He has been an investigator and has worked as Divisional Police Officer in several police stations across the country. He is currently the Commandant, Police Training School, Benin. His academic accomplishment includes BSC (Ed). He has attended various courses, conferences and seminars in the course of his career.


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