Delayed Cases – DPP Blames Cops

DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito has said that the delay to issue instructions by his office to refer cases to the High Court for trial is as a result of shoddy investigations by some police officers.

Mr Nchito said this yesterday at the closure of the Lusaka sittings for the Legal and Justice Sector Reform Commission in Matero Township.

He said some police officers’ investigations needed to be re-visited before a matter was referred to the High Court.

Mr Nchito said police officers were creating a problem by placing this blame on his office, knowing that they were the ones who delayed cases because of to rushed investigations.

The DPP was responding to concerns by petitioners who wanted to know why murder and aggravated robbery cases took long to be referred to the High Court for trial.

Mr Nchito said the office of the DPP had made it mandatory that a file taken to his office should be verified within two to three days but that the delay arose when there were too many queries that needed further investigations.

He said sensitive cases like murder needed to be verified thoroughly before referring them to higher courts compared to political offences and that citizens should understand that procedures differed in such cases.

“Police investigators should stop putting the blame on the DPP’s chambers, they know what delays the cases. It’s sometimes their shoddy investigations but when in court they will say we are waiting for instructions from the DPP. I think that is where the problem lies,” Mr Nchito said.

Mr Nchito said political cases were also delayed once referred to the High Court due in some cases to procedure.

Some petitioners submitted that the Ruth Mbandu case and others like it had dragged on for a long time, while other cases were progressing well, including the election petitions which had even been given a time frame to be disposed off.

“This is sad. Those with non-bailable offences are rotting in jail because of the DPP’s chambers. Citizens and the nation at large are all following with keen interest these matters. We have noticed that political cases are being disposed off faster than murder and aggravated robbery cases,” they said.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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