BY CHINSINSI CHEKETA AND SAMUEL DUNCAN
The country’s Magistrates have warned that, unless petty cases are diverged, the issue of decongesting police cells and prisons will still remain a far-fetched dream in the country.
The remarks were made on Monday during the training of Magistrates, police prosecutors and prison officers in Nkhotakota, under a 13 month Restorative Justice through Adult Diversion project, implemented by Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in Kasungu and Nkhotakota districts with funding from Tilitonse Foundation.
Magistrate Fred Juma Chilowetsa of Nkhotakota first grade magistrate court observed that, the country’s courts spend more time presiding over minor cases, which in-return hampers efforts to speed-up the process of providing justice to the suspects, hence fueling congestion in police cells and prisons.
Chilowetsa said, flooding of petty cases in the country’s courts makes the courts move at a snail pace in the work of providing timely justice to suspects, the situation he described as worrisome.
He said: “Sometimes we (magistrates) handle very small cases which can even be handled by traditional leaders in different areas, and this hinders our work of delivering justice to the suspects, the situation which infringes people’s rights”.
Secretary for CCJP in the Arch-diocese of Lilongwe Noel Kondwan Mtuza urged magistrates to go beyond the understanding of the project, which among others; seeks to ensure that justice is timely being provided to the suspects in the country.
The one day training brought together Magistrates, police prosecutors and prison officers from Kasungu and Nkhotakota.