YES, justice delayed is justice denied. It is injustice to spend more than a year in remand waiting for one’s case to be heard.
Some judgements are rendered academic because of delays. In some cases, accused persons would have served more than a year only to be acquitted due to lack of evidence.
Our prayer is that the judicial system reforms should ensure that remandees do not spend too much time before their cases are heard.
If one spends more than a year behind bars only to get released because there is no evidence, that is injustice.
Police and prosecutors should ensure that they are ready when they take cases for prosecution.
As Valley Chaholoka observes, prison life is not easy regardless of how long one stays there awaiting judgement.
With firsthand experience, Ms Chaholoka is speaking for many of her friends who she left in prison and wants their cases to be cleared.
She observes that it is better if one is going to serve time, that judgement is timely so that they do their time rather than being left wondering inside prison.
Ms Chaholoka said in 2016 she was accused of obtaining money by false pretences when in fact she was innocent and was locked up in prison for seven months..
“A person is supposed to appear in court every 14 days. But if the judges and magistrates continue to adjourn cases maybe eight times you find the suspect will be in custody for a long time which should not be the case.
“Judges and magistrates should ensure that they just adjourn the case twice thereafter make a ruling because it is wrong to keep a person in prison without being found guilty,” Ms Chaholoka said.
Justice delayed is justice denied. Government should, through the Judiciary, ensure that justice does indeed prevail for all.