Courts challenged by outstanding criminal cases

05 Feb 2016 10:50am
WINDHOEK, 05 FEB (NAMPA) – A total of 19 277 outstanding criminal cases were recorded by magistrate's courts countrywide in 2015.
Chief Justice Peter Shivute availed these figures during the opening of the 2016 Legal Year at the Supreme Court here on Thursday.
Shivute said factors that were identified as contributors in the delay of the finalisation of criminal cases included about 30 functions that most magistrate’s courts provide on behalf of 11 ministries, offices and agencies, while these institutions have offices in towns where these services are rendered.
The services range from revenue collection, issuing of meat export permits and issuing of permits for the importation of household pets, to the registration of political parties that compromise dedicated court time.
Shivute said limited resources also remains a key challenge in the speedy finalisation of cases.
Highlighting some of the successes of last year, the Chief Justice noted that 32 judgements reserved during the three terms of the Court in 2015 were delivered on time, thus averaging the finalisation rate of 100 per cent.
Meanwhile, a record number of 25 appeals have been set down for the forthcoming first session of the High Court.
“At the rate at which the set down of appeals is being managed, my expectation is that by the end of this year, the only cases that would be awaiting an allocation of a date of hearing will be those registered in late 2015 and early 2016,” Shivute said.
He added that the rules of the Supreme Court are being overhauled to bring them in line with the changing times.
“Soon to be implemented at the High Court is the e-Justice system. e-Justice is a web-based court management programme that enables legal practitioners to commence and prosecute proceedings electronically without having to be physically present at court, until the matter is called on a scheduled hearing or trial,” Shivute explained.
The event which was attended by President Hage Geingob, legal professionals, magistrates and judges of the High Court also witnessed the swearing-in of Deputy Judge of the High Court, Hosea Angula and High Court Judges Thomas Masuku; and Herman Oosthuizen.
The Office of the Judiciary consists of 879 judicial officers and staff members and seven judges.