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Public prosecutors decry inefficient criminal justice system

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Justicecriminal prosecution requires great expertise. That is why public prosecutors are now raising  concern over the process, decrying the inefficiency of the criminal justice system, which, according to them, has been bedevilled with challenges, leading to ineffective crime management in the country.
   
This was disclosed last Friday, during a-one- day workshop on “Effective Prosecution and Defence: Ethics and Essentials for Success” by Punuka Law firm, in Lagos.
   
The court system, according to them, simply lacks the tools for effective prosecution process.Speaking at the workshop, former Director of Public Prosecution, Lagos State Mr. Fola Arthur-Worrey said the key issues of prosecutions in the system are “institutional weakness and resource deficit.”

   
His words: “The working tools for the prosecutors, the efficiency of the court system, and the unpredictability of the process of prosecution – are the problems we contend with within Nigeria. While everybody may desire a particular outcome in relation to a particular case whose facts seem straight forward, the court process, the defence process, the grant of bail and adjournment, and the delay – all these issues hinder the prosecution process”.
   
A shift in perception of the process, he said could save the country’s legal system, noting that the burden placed on the state by the Supreme Court during the case of late former Military Head of State, Sani Abacha, in relation to the prosecution of offenders should be reversed.
   
The Director of Public Prosecution, Kaduna State, Bayero Davi, who spoke to The Guardian, said: “The law we operate, particularly, the jurisdiction I come from, we are still using the old system of laws to prosecute, we are still using the old system of investigation, filing charges and calling witnesses. When you have a case, it will go stale because of the congestion in court”.

They, however, called for reform in the Justice sector, by implementing policies that facilitates effective prosecution in the Criminal Justice administration.
   
At the meeting of the Body of Attorneys General, recently in Abuja, the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) in his address highlight the challenges that has bedevilled the Criminal Justice System.
   
“Our criminal justice system has been bedevilled with a lot of challenges, particularly, the absence of necessary policies and legislations that facilitates smooth, speedy and effective administration of criminal justice and guarantees free and fair trail of suspects. It is in order to address the identified challenges that the administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) Act, 2015 was enacted.

The 2015 ACJ Act merged the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) into one principal Federal Act and brought about far-reaching and positive innovations to the administration of criminal justice at the federal level,” the statements reads.
   
Also speaking at the workshop, Sean D. Reyes, representing the Conference of Western Attorney General (CWAG), called for the collaborative effort of Nigeria government to build and share resources in combating crime.
   
“We feel we can deal directly with Nigeria and foster a very respectful dialogue and support each other and we will like to build stronger ties in Nigeria,” he said.CWAG is an international legal body that aims at strengthening legal system of countries.


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Fola Arthur-Worrey

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