By our Taraba correspondent
The need for Magistrates to frequently visit Police Stations across the country to facilitate the immediate release on bail of persons detained for no reason at the station have become a source of concern to the Development Education and Advocacy Resources for Africa (DEAR Africa).
The group who made the suggestions at the third bimonthly meeting on ‘Administration of Criminal Justice Law’ which took place in Akwa, Anambra state ,yesterday ,also heaped on the need for the relevant authority to fashion out ways of decongestion of prisons across the country.
Organized by to the Development Education and Advocacy Resources for Africa (DEAR Africa) with the support of CLEEN Foundation and funded by the MacArthur foundation, the advised that persons arrested and detained by the police should be allow access to their mobile phones in order for them to reach out to the friends ,relations as well as their lawyers.
Adding that ” failure to give the person arrested this opportunity should cast a doubt on the legality of the arrest’ according to tjem ” This is a way to ensure that citizens are not just arrested and locked up arbitrarily. ”
Led by the team leader, Barrister Somto Ogoegbuna , they also recommended that interviews, interrogations and questioning of a suspect or accused persons should take place in the presence of his or her lawyer.
Bent on ensuring that the needful are put in place , Court Registrars , as suggested by them be sensitized on the fact that Government Parastatals such as the Legal Aid Council and the Ministry of Justice, are not “supposed to pay money for court proceedings when they request for it. “.
Any persons arrested as argued by them should be given the opportunity to apply immediately to a magistrate for bail” stating that “and if remanded, and there is failure of the Director of Public Prosecution to write a legal opinion on the offence committed, such a person should be granted bail. ”