Human Right Commission (HRC) chairperson Pixie Yangailo has called on the magistrate courts to step up their efforts of referring matters to the High Court.
Ms. Yangailo said in a telephone interview with ZANIS in Lusaka today that it was sad that some court cases and judgments have unnecessarily been delaying while members of the public wait to hear verdicts.
She said her commission has been receiving reports from the public over matters in court that have taken long to be disposed off and those involving suspects that have been in police custody without appearing in court for long time.
Ms. Yangailo said her organisation was therefore concerned with this state of affairs noting that justice delayed was justice denied as long as suspects were kept in uncalled for uncertainty.
She said the only way prisons could be decongested was by speeding up trials in the courts of law.
She noted that a lot of suspects are detained everyday hence the longer the courts take to dispose off matters, the more congested the prisons will become.
Meanwhile, Ms. Yangailo has commended the judiciary for introducing an electronic way of keeping records.
Ms. Yangailo observed that this system will reduce on transport costs that lawyers have been incurring during the process of filing in applications.
She said documents can now be filed anywhere and can easily be accessed by all parties involved in a particular matter.
She also commended government for decentralising operations of the judiciary saying this would bring about transparency in the manner matters were handled in courts of law.
Meanwhile, Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president James Banda has called on government to quickly come up with reforms that will address the timeframe within which the office of the Director for Public Prosecution would issue instructions to avoid delayed and prolonged trials.
Mr. Banda said the delayed and prolonged trials were some of the issues that have eroded people’s confidence in the judiciary.
He said there was need for all stakeholders in the judiciary to diligently and speedily carry out their duties.
He expressed sadness that some court cases have ended up entering nolle pro sequi after pending for a long time.
Mr. Banda wondered whether the investigations teams were doing their job effectively.
He said these teams should ensure that investigations were concluded before charging a person to avoid entering nolle pro sequis then re-arrest the same persons soon after telling them that the state has found no case against them.