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Stakeholders seek reduced time-frame for criminal trials

Stakeholders have demanded for a reduction in the time-frame of criminal trials to help reduce the length of stay of inmates who were seen to behave rightly and were actively participating in the reformatory requirements while in the correctional centres.

Their demand came following the human rights implication of prolonged detention of inmates in correctional facilities.

This was contained in a Stakeholder’s Dialogue Report ‘Awaiting Trial Syndrome in Nigeria’ made available to journalists on Thursday.

The stakeholders include; Members of the House of Representatives, Nigeria Bar Association, Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Correctional Service, Civil Society Organisations and legal practitioners.

According to the report which was gotten from Legend Golden Care Foundation, the stakeholders discussed possible ways of ensuring speedy dispensation of justice and nip the awaiting trial syndrome.

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They emphasised that mobile courts be set up and judges be encouraged to visit correctional centres regularly to adjudicate in simple offenses.

Among other solutions, the stakeholders noted, “There is need to ensure that there are appropriate systems for tracking the time-frame for trials as proposed by the Administration or Criminal Justice Act 2015.

“The use of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism in medicating simple offenses will help reduce the case load for judges giving them adequate time to focus on serious cases.

“The removal of trial within trial will help reduce the long trial process and also, a system to ensure that a suspect’s confessional statements are taken voluntarily in the presence of their lawyer be adopted.

“The NCoS be encouraged to use non-custodial measures like parole, probation, community services, and restorative justice.”

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