For some time now, we have observed as the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) charges suspected criminals people left right and centre, only for the cases to stall before the trial commences.
Citizens, some public officers have been brought before courts for various offences, kept behind bars, for some luckily they were released on cash bail and it took years before their cases could be determined.
While we all respect the justice system and always want the law to take its course, it is disturbing how our law enforcements and the DPP in particular seem to be trigger-happy to charge suspects before assessment and conclusion of the evidence they have to build a strong case against such persons.
Given the prevailing situation, cases which could be determined under a year take more than five years to be disposed off because prosecution rush to court while still gathering all evidence, investigators do a shoddy job, which at the end determination of the case.
There have been cases mostly high profile ones that have dragged on with the prosecutors each court seating asking for extensions and telling the court that investigations are ongoing.
Take the National Petroleum Fund matter where several people have been charged as an example. It has been more than two years now but every time the case goes for mention, the State tells the court that it was still investigating.
Yet another example, is case of Carter Morupisi and wife and that former DIS chief, Isaac Kgosi.
We are of the view that the practice has a danger of infringing on the accused’s rights. Admittedly, they are crime suspects but they must be arraigned before court when sufficient evidence has been gathered against them for justice to take its course.
At the moment, one Welheminah Maswabi has been charged, but the State seems uncertain about its claims.
The case keeps being postponed every week without any significant progress while the accused is languishing in jail. The DPP seems to be going in circle and the court allows it by continuously denying the accused bail.
It is wrong, the court should at least in this instance grant the accused bail with conditions while the prosecution gets its house in order!
We take the view that the DPP and other law enforcement agency’s love for action and drama has taken the better part of it rather than the pursuit of justice.
The law enforcements agencies seem to have found their new-found love in the domain of theatrics and drama. One could see by the way they handle the Maswabi case. The spectacle at court this morning bears it all.
They will be busy doing all this, but when its time to have the matters for trial, they come up with all sorts of flimsy excuses for the case not to progress.
If the State could do this, how are we supposed to trust that indeed the State is not making these charges up to pounce on and abuse innocent citizens?
And what would happen if in the end one gets discharged and sues for many things among them unfair detention? DPP should get its house in order and know when to lay charges against an accused.
“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.”