FRANCISTOWN: The President of the Customary Court of Appeal (North) Christopher Masunga has lambasted the police for handling appeal cases before his court with contempt.
Giving a vote of thanks at the Eighth Annual National Community Policing Cluster Awards on Thursday at Adansonia Hotel, a worried Masunga said that in some instances the police do not show up in court altogether.
This, Masunga added, is reprehensible because the police would have been dully served with court papers showing them the time, date and place where the appeals were to be held after some litigants had appealed their cases.
Masunga pleaded with the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi and the Commissioner of Police, Keabetswe Makgophe to normalise the situation.
He added: “In some occasions, they also assign police officers who have little or no knowledge of the law who in some instances are also clueless about cases being appealed”.
This situation, the outspoken chief said, does not bode well for the justice system because he is sometimes left with no option but to rule in favour of appellants after the police fail to appear before him to defend the appeals even though there was evidence that the applicants
Masunga bemoaned that the public is the greatest casualty of this legal bungling by the police; a situation he said may lead members of the public to lose trust in the judicial system.
Masunga pleaded with Kgathi and Makgophe to arrest the situation urgently before it spirals out of control.
Judging by the body language of Kgathi and Makgophe who were in a pensive mood, Masunga’s words may have rubbed them the wrong way.
Kgathi had earlier on warned police officers who do not carry out their duties as according to the expectations of the Police Act and the public that they would lose their jobs.
One will not be off the mark if they were to say that Masunga’s words were a blot on an otherwise successful event, which was punctuated by song and dance after different community policing cluster groups from across the country were rewarded. The groups were praised for their sterling job in reducing the rate of crime in the country.