By NORMA SIAME –
HIGH court Judge Isaac Chali has described the slow pace in which court cases are being disposed in the Northern circuit as outrageous and a stumbling block to the delivery of justice.
In apparent disbelief, Judge Chali said it was shocking that a case that was concluded on March 4, 2010 in Kasama was only coming up now for sentencing.
Officially opening the 2014 Kasama High Court sessions which caters for Northern and Muchinga provinces, Mr Justice Chali said the judiciary would only succeed in the task of creating an efficient administration of justice system if all parties concerned play their respective roles with dedication and efficiency.
He said the untimely adjudication of cases was stumbling block to the implementation of judicial reforms.
“One case involves a person who pleaded guilty to a charge of defilement and was convicted in July 2013. The second was tried and convicted for a similar offence in the same month. The two cases were only sent to the High Court late January 2014 so that they could be sentenced during this session,” the judge said.
He said the most outrageous case was the one concluded in Kasama on March 4, 2010 which had only come up now for sentencing.
“Meanwhile, all these people are remanded in custody. Can you imagine how such a person would feel after having stayed in remand for years only to be found innocent by the high court and released?” he asked.
Demanding a change in the attitude, he called on all judiciary workers to contribute towards making the judicial reforms into reality.
Principal resident magistrate Vincent Siloka was ordered to closely monitor the pace at which the magistrates under his jurisdiction were disposing cases before them.
Mr Justice Chali said he was aware of the difficulties the Prison Service faced in terms of lack of transport, limited space in the prisons and other facilities for inmates.
“I would therefore, urge the ministry concerned to take keen interest in resolving these issues as a way of making its own contribution to the efficient administration of justice,” he said.
He was however, happy with goal delivery after observing that the number of prohibited immigrants had reduced following a repatriation exercise conducted by the department of immigration.
Northern Province Minister Freedom Sikazwe who the guest of honour at the traditional sherry party that comes after the ceremonial opening gave assurance that the construction of an ultra-modern High Court building would soon begin as Government had already set aside funds for the that purpose.