DPP should respect the Constitution
Posted Tuesday, October 29 2013 at 02:00
The new Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Mike Chibita, recently unveiled proposals during his first press conference among which was the scrapping of bail for suspects. If such a proposal is to be implemented, then it means that the Constitution will have to be amended. Bail is a constitutional right available to an accused person and having it scrapped off the legislation is more less assassinating a suspect.
The DPP should not make proposals out of emotions or pressure so as to create change in the criminal justice system. He, of all people, as a judicial officer, should be able to appreciate the doctrine of presumption of innocence because denying an accused person bail implies that such a person is guilty. Not all accused persons temper with witnesses and scenes of crimes to frustrate cases. And how would one know if such a person is not given an opportunity?
It is not fair for the office of the DPP to prioritise prosecution of offences be it major or minor because as citizens of this country we all hope for justice in the courts of law .All we want to see is a speedy and reasonable trial procedure of all accused persons irrespective of major or minor offences.
Most of the prisons in the country are congested and one of the measures for decongesting such prisons is granting bail to the accused persons .One cannot talk of decongesting prisons without expeditious trials or bail and this is what the DPP should be thinking up. We have had instances where prosecutors and state attorneys cause remanding of suspects on grounds that; police files are missing, investigations are still pending and endless non appearance of key prosecution witnesses.
Very many accused persons have been committed to High Court for trial but have spent years without being tried. This is more or less like serving an indefinite sentence .Why can’t the DPP look into into such issues rather than coming up with such emotional proposals that seek to violate further the rights of the accused person?
It is quite unfortunate and saddening that the DPP who has served as an honorable member of the bench is spear heading the violation of rights of the accused persons, if the Directorate of Public Prosecutions as an institution is deviating from such constitutional values then who will respect them?
MUK Law School