A Lawyer, Mr Isaiah Odje, on Saturday called for speedy dispensation of justice to further strengthen the peoples confidence in the country’s judiciary.
Odje, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said that the adjournment of cases to distant dates had led to delay in the dispensation of justice by the country’s judiciary.
“Some court cases have dragged on for years without reaching a conclusion.
“Sometimes, justice seekers are forced to stop coming to court, not because they don’t want justice but because they lose interest in the matter because of the years they spent in seeking justice .
“Once the trial had commenced in a case, no party should be entitled to more than four adjournments.
“Litigants want quick dispensation of justice; the court must ensure that cases are not unduly delayed.
“In legal terms, justice delayed is justice denied, the belief is that if justice is not dispensed promptly, it is tantamount to lack of justice.
“Magistrates should be very strict with requests for adjournments. This is one of the greatest factors that cause delays in our courts.
“A society where justice is delayed or frustrated cannot progress much; in order to manage cases effectively, the court should give as short dates as possible, to ensure speedy progress,” he said.
He identified heavy workload on magistrates as one of the reasons court cases ligerred for too long.
“Some magistrates have volumes of cases they handle on a daily basis; the magistrate can only do as much as he or she is able to cope with, and adjourns the other cases.
“So, to address this issue of delay, there is need for more magistrates and government should be more committed to funding the judiciary for effective performance.
“The work of judges and magistrates could also be made easier by computerising the courts with the latest technology,” Odje said.
According to him, some legal practitioners engage in filing of unnecessary motions aimed at delaying proceedings.
“Lawyers who have bad cases, rather than advise their clients properly, resort to foul play by asking for unnecessary adjournments.
“While some counsel involve in other court cases at the same time, thus bringing about the adjournment of the other case,” he said
Odje said that delay also arose from prison authorities; when prosecutors do not give proper notice to prison authorities, of the date of trial, it may bring about unavailability of vehicles, to convey the accused persons to court.
The lawyer said, however, that other factors such as unavailability of the magistrate due to laziness, transfer of magistrate or judge, inadequate courtrooms for proceedings, prosecutor’s unpreparedness, and absence of witnesses, also contributed to delay in dispensation of justice.