19 April 2018

Malawi: Absence of Resident Magistrate Delaying Court Cases in Mj

Mulanje — Some court cases in Mulanje are taking long to resolvedue to lack of a resident magistrate in the district, Mana has learnt.

Following the development, such cases are handled by a resident magistrate who operates from Blantyre. This has resulted in having many suspects held on remand at the district's prison which is also causing congestion at the facility.

Mulanje Police Station Prosecutor, Gladstone Kanyezi in a recent interview with the Malawi News Agency said the development is affecting progress of most cases which is in some way infringing on the rights of the suspects as justice delayed is justice denied.

Prosecutor Kanyezi cited an example of a case that happened in Traditional Authority Nkanda in the district in January this year, involving three people who were arrested for being suspected of exhuming a dead body of an albino who had died in the area and have been on remand for over two months without appearing in court due to the same problem.

"Indeed this is really a very big challenge as cases are just pilling up without being tried since it takes time for the resident magistrate to come," explained Kanyezi.

However, it has also been learnt that Muloza Court does not have a First Grade Magistrate hence all cases are handled at the boma which has also been described as unfortunate as the security of the suspects is compromised since they travel a long distance in an open vehicle and can easily escape.

An inside source at Mulanje Magistrate Court however said much as it is a waste of resources for the suspects to be ferried to and from Muloza to the boma, there was no way a First Grade Magistrate could be stationed in the area saying one is supposed to cover the whole district and Muloza is within the jurisdiction of the one stationed at the boma.

Efforts to talk to Judicial Spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula proved futile as his phone went unanswered after several attempts.

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