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Criminal Justice: Lagos Advisory Committee Recommends Phase-Out Of Police Prosecutors

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The Legal Advisory Committee on Police Prosecution of criminal cases in Lagos has recommended a gradual phase-out of police prosecutors in criminal cases to prevent a breakdown in the criminal justice system of the state.

Announcing the recommendations Friday, February 21, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, said police prosecutors need to be better trained and equipped to enhance their capacity to carry out their responsibilities as the long arm of the criminal justice system in the state.

The Attorney-General said the Ministry of Justice will continue to provide the Nigeria Police Force with technical and infrastructural support to bolster the capacity of their prosecutors and investigators, as the state has no plan to replace them anytime soon.

While reiterating the commitment of the state government to the effective administration of justice, Onigbanjo noted that government will renovate, refurbish and equip State CID library at Panti with legal material resources.

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Onigbanjo said the government will employ a filter mechanism to checkmate case files through immediate deployment of district prosecutors to three pilot Magisterial districts in the state, namely; Ebute-Metta, Ikorodu and Ogba.

“With immediate effect we shall commence deployment of district prosecutors in three (3) Magistrate Courts to vet charges and review case files presented by the investigation Police Officers (IPO) to ensure it meets evidential threshold required by law,” Onigbanjo said.

He disclosed that henceforth police prosecutor will have a limited category and numbers of cases they can handle. He said the category and maximum number of cases will be disclosed after a joint meeting with the Judiciary and the State Commissioner of Police.

Onigbanjo said recommendations of the committee on police prosecution power review will also be incorporated in the amendment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, ACJL, to be presented to the State House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

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The Commissioner announced that a team has been constituted to review the over 15,000 pending cases as highlighted by the advisory committee at the Magistrate and High Courts, adding that bail verification as recommended by the committee will be proposed to Lagos State Judiciary for appropriate incorporation into the system.

He further pointed out that four out of the nine recommendations of the committee will be implemented immediately while others will be addressed through the appropriate quarters.

Onigbanjo, however, assured Lagosians that the state government will continue to dedicate its capacity to ensure timely resolution of cases for an effective administration of justice.



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