The issue of the courts granting bail to repeat offenders does not sit well with members of the public who recently raised the concern.
While threatening to take the law into their own hands such irate public members have also gone as far as blaming the police accusing them of doing a shoddy job. There is a perception amongst Batswana that police arrest suspects only to quickly release them on bail, as a result leading to some members of the public threatening to take the law into their hands.
The disgruntled public points to suspects being seen roaming the streets despite the sensitivity of the offences they are alleged to have already committed.
In the past this resulted in such public members serving up some poetic justice by assaulting the suspects or conducting kangaroo courts before the arrival of the police. They would claim they do so because the police and the courts are failing them.
Police commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe said he is hopeful that the judiciary would soon address the issue of bail that has been a concern to law-abiding citizens.
Makgophe admitted that bailouts are a topical issue hence stating that as the police they are doing a great job in their mandate of bringing offenders to book, but what happens after that is beyond their control.
He stated that he was aware of citizens’ concerns over bail granted to repeat offenders, but was hopeful that soon the judiciary will address the matter.
“We cannot tell (the judiciary) what to do, they are well trained for their job. We, however, at times do incorporate in forums with the administration of justice to review our performances and we have since aired our
Makgophe stated that despite being concerned by the matter, there is no way they as the police, could influence judicial decisions. “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty hence as the police there is no way we can convince the courts not to grant suspects bail if they see the significance of doing so. We can suggest on how their bails could be conducted, but we cannot go any further because magistrates and judges are well trained in that area than we the police,” Makgophe said.
He pointed out that in the past they had raised concerns over delays in prosecution of cases, something that has since improved.
“Prosecution of cases used to be a major concern as minor disputes that could be resolved in months took years, but we are happy that together with the courts we managed to eradicate the backlog of cases in the criminal justice system,” Makgophe said.
Recently when addressing the University of Botswana (UB) students at the Botswana criminal justice society seminar, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi revealed that Batswana are not happy with how the country’s criminal justice system operates.
Then Kgathi said that people’s reactions at his Kgotla meetings regarding the issue of bail is a serious concern, something that challenges the country to step up efforts in making the criminal justice system more efficient.
He promised citizens that their concerns have not fallen on deaf ears.