—–Criminal sessions of the High Court for the year 2015 for North Western Province opened this morning by Kitwe High Court Judge Chilombo Mwaka- Phiri in Solwezi.
Speaking during the ceremonial opening, Judge Phiri disclosed that the judiciary has embarked on computerisation of the court system and real time court reporting at High Court level.
She said the Kitwe High Court, which services North Western Province, is now fully computerised with two reporters now stationed in Kitwe.
Judge Phiri noted that the judiciary has also employed new staff members, called Research Advocates, whose main purpose is to assist Judges in their research work to enable them dispose of cases at a faster rate than before.
She said the Judiciary had constructed four local courts in Mwinilunga, Chavuma, and Kabompo, Ikelenge districts in 2014, adding that construction and renovation of court buildings and houses had since been approved in the 2015 budget.
Judge Phiri lamented that there are four local courts operating without court houses in the province.
She, however, appealed to government to adequately fund the Judiciary to facilitate the construction of modern subordinate courts and allocate a resident Judge in Solwezi.
She commended the Judges in the province for ably handling 132 criminal cases that were filed at Solwezi High Court, but added that the high number of girls below the age of 16 years falling pregnant does not correlate with the low number of defilement cases in Courts of Law.
And speaking at the same function, Provincial Minister, Dawson Kafwaya, called for a resident Judge in Solwezi as this would be the only sure way justice delivery will be improved.
Mr Kafwaya noted that some cases take too long to be exposed of due to lack of a resident judge.
He also directed the Prison and Police Command to ensure that sick remandees are taken immediately to the clinic for medical attention, adding that reports of prison authorities refusing to attend to sick remandees would not be tolerated.
The Provincial Minister said government remains committed to improving the working environment of the courts, adding that he was also aware of the shortage of office space at Solwezi subordinate court which has only two court rooms and four chambers against six magistrates.