Backlog of criminal cases worries PG

16 Jan 2014 13:10pm
WINDHOEK, 16 JAN (NAMPA) - Namibia's Prosecutor-General has expressed concern over the ever-growing backlog of unfinished criminal cases in the country's courts.
Martha Olivia Ekandjo-Imalwa said the overwhelming number of unfinished criminal cases is one of the most important reasons why the Namibian courts are now being subjected to constant criticism by the general public.
The PG was speaking during the commencement of the Windhoek High Court's legal year calendar for 2014 here on Thursday morning.
“The most worrying aspect in the administration of justice in Namibia and one which needs the urgent and proper attention of everyone involved in the country's in the justice system is to help reduce the backlog of criminal cases, which are not yet finalised by courts.
Even if a relatively simple matter enters into our courts, they become entangled within the court system with no foreseeable end in sight,” the PG told both fellow public and private legal practitioners.
According to Ekandjo-Imalwa, a number of factors that contribute to the unfinished backlog of criminal cases in the Namibian courts are, amongst other things, a lack of manpower that is coupled with the huge influx of cases, lengthy adjournments of cases, as well as limited courts resources and organisation.
“No doubt, the unfinished backlog of criminal cases is also in certain instances caused by accused persons being allowed to play with the system to ensure that matters do not proceed until witnesses and complainants lose interest in the matter,” explained the PG.
She stated the problem of the backlog of criminal cases is not only being experienced in Namibia as it is a universal phenomenon.
The PG, therefore, called upon all people involved in the country's justice system to put heads together and devise and develop some 'backlog reduction strategies' which will help prevent the growth of new cases.
She also strongly urged the prosecutors and control prosecutors to always give preference to the oldest cases on their daily court rolls, and to ensure that these cases are being dealt with speedily.
Ekandjo-Imalwa further said her office will work tirelessly during the course of this year to make sure that the Bill on the amendment of the Criminal Procedures Act is concluded this year, in order to make way for the implementation of pleas bargaining in certain criminal matters in Namibia.