Unavailability of Witnesses, Prosecutors Affect Justice Delivery in Thyolo

Senior Resident Magistrate Assunta Maxwell followed up 23 criminal cases, remanded to prison and discharged some due to unavailability of witnesses and prosecutors Senior Resident Magistrate Assunta Maxwell followed up 23 criminal cases, remanded to prison and discharged some due to unavailability of witnesses and prosecutors

Absence of some witnesses and state prosecutors have been singled out as one of the factors affecting access to justice to suspects in Thyolo.

Speaking to Zodiak on Friday, Thyolo District Civic Education Officer for NICE Trust Moses Kaunda, observed that  some suspects continue staying long on remand in prison due to unavailability of some prosecutors and unwillingness of witnesses during trial.

He made an observation at Makande Prison during a camp court,  where Senior Resident Magistrate Assunta Maxwell followed up 23 criminal cases, remanded to prison and discharged some due to unavailability of witnesses and prosecutors.

"One of the factors is what we just witnessed here where we saw some cases failing to be heard because the prosecutors were not available. This delays cases", he said.

Concurring with Kaunda, Magistrate Maxwell, believes reaching out to witnesses and intensifying camp courts can help to ensure swift justice delivery, thereby decongesting correctional facilities.

Maxwell said due to backlog of cases, it sometimes becomes difficult for magistrates to follow up with some suspects.

"As you noticed most of the magistrates do not follow up hands on how their cases are going. We depend on the prosecutors to inform us. If they don't not come to court then we forget about them we just give them another date. But with the camp court, we are able to follow easily and see who benefit from the same," Maxwell said.

The camp court sessions are aimed at increasing access to justice to the vulnerable, courtesy of the European Union through NICE Trust.

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