3rd August, 2017
Three High Courts in Jos have struck out 46 criminal cases following the lack of prosecution by Police and State prosecuting officers, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
“The prosecution did not show any intention to carry out its duty; that left us with no option than to strike out the cases and free the suspects,” a senior judicial official told NAN on Thursday, in Jos.
The source said that the suspects had since been freed from prison custody.
Details of the cases showed that High Court VII struck out 20, High Court V, 12, while High Court VI threw out 14.
NAN reports that before the cases were struck out, High Court VI placed a notice advising litigants and prosecution officers to demonstrate diligence in their prosecution or have them struck out.
The notice, co-signed by two clerks, Atang Izang and Audu Nanpak, listed the affected cases which they said had been abandoned, and stated that they would be struck out on July 31, 2017, if such abandonment continued.
Contacted, Mr Geofrey Kamyal, the Plateau Chief Registrar, regretted that abandonment of cases by litigants and prosecution had become a common phenomenon.
Kamyal described the situation as “unfortunate and very worrisome” to the judiciary.
“The situation is very bad; it does not speak well of both the Bar and the Bench that criminals are being left to go free.
“The constitution is very clear on this. A suspect is presumed innocent before the law until proven guilty; so if the prosecution cannot prove its case, the suspect is as good as innocent,” he said.
He urged prosecutors to be more committed to their duties to avoid situations where people arrested for criminal offences were left off the hook and allowed to continue their activities.