CJN Decries Delay in Criminal Trials

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By Tobi Soniyi

The Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Mahmud Muhammed has admitted that delay in trials of criminal cases remained a major challenge confronting the nation’s justice system.

He therefore called for lasting solutions that would improve the administration of criminal justice system, reduce delays, restore public confidence as well as improve judicial performance.

The CJN spoke on Monday while declaring open the 2016 refresher course organised for magistrates on current trends in Law and Administration of Justice by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja.

According to him, more often than not, trial delays are caused by the antics of parties and to some extent the court, which results to unnecessary adjournment.

“Often, prosecutors or defence counsel are unable to present their cases or witnesses and Investigating police officers are often unavailable or transferred; there is sometimes a lack of diligent rendering of legal advice on whether there is a prima facie case to prosecute, an increased use of preliminary objections, unnecessary legal devices for delaying trials and a myriad of others too numerous to mention here” he said.

He also stressed the need to reduce the backlog of cases especially in criminal matters which he said had contributed to the congestion of prisons and expressed optimism that the course would provide an avenue to device ways of achieving this.

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