By REBECCA MUSHOTA and DELPHINE ZULU –
JUSTICE Minister Given Lubinda has said that Zambians should not expect all prosecutions to result in convictions because the role of trials is to assist the courts in reaching a fair and just decision.
Reacting to criticism that the State has been losing a lot of cases through acquittals and dropping some through nolle prosequis, Mr Lubinda said it was not possible for the State to win all cases it presented before courts.
He said State advocates mainly depended on investigations done by investigative wings of Government in order to win cases.
Mr Lubinda said on average, State advocates attended to 36 cases per month, a move he described as unbearable.
He said government has now decided to move prosecutors from the Drug-enforcement Commission (DEC) and the police and place them under National Prosecution Authority in accordance with the Constitution.
Mr Lubinda disclosed that prosecutors at the Anti-Corruption Commission who have not yet been moved would also be moved to the National Prosecution Authority next year.
He said this in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia when he was transiting to Rome to attend a conference for ministers of Justice themed ‘A world without a death penalty, no justice without life’.
This is according to a statement issued by First Secretary Press and Tourism at the Zambian Embassy in Ethiopia Ing’utu Mwanza.
Mr Lubinda said that the lacunas in the Constitution were of concern to Government and to that effect, he would soon issue a ministerial statement to Parliament to give details on specific articles that would need to be reviewed in the Constitution.
He said a ministerial statement would also give a progress report on the process.
Mr Lubinda also said the conference in Rome was important because it would help broaden the debate in Zambia on the death penalty that had been retained in the 2016 Amended Constitution.
Earlier, United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema said there was need to change the criminal justice system in the country due to the manner in which high-profile cases were being handled.
Mr Hichilema said there was no thorough and fair investigation done and this had led to people being in court longer than expected because of the hurried way of arresting selected people which ended in nolle prosequi, discharge or delayed judgment.
“You experience prosecution before receiving your judgment that is why dialogue is very important so that the criminal justice is restored.
“This will ensure that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and not now where you are deemed guilty before being prosecuted,” Mr Hichilema said.
He was speaking at the magistrates’ court in Lusaka after the discharge of his vice-president Geoffrey Mwamba and 19 others in an unlawful drilling matter.