Today The Satellite wants to look at the sensitive issue of the qualification, professional training and attitude of police prosecutors as this relates to the impartial dispensation of justice. Justice delayed or tampered with to favor one party is justice denied. Thus, when President Koroma appointed the current Attorney General and Minister of Justice, his brief was that he must work to make the justice system more efficient.
In making the justice system less cumbersome and proficient, one major problem that the Ministry of Justice and its Legal Aid Board which represents poor people in conflict with the law face is that of bail which leads to overcrowding in prisons.
When this press did a little bit of investigation on overcrowding and delays in justice delivery, it found out that the three main reasons are: 1: failure of investigators to investigate cases properly and thoroughly in order to establish a prima facie case; 2: delay by courts in granting bail, and 3: stiff bail conditions for minor felonies. These fault narrowed down to poorly trained investigators and charge officers who are very important in ensuring that people are not unfairly and wrongly charged.
Police prosecutors must be of high integrity as they indict and convict suspects in criminal proceedings. Therefore, let us imagine what happens when a prosecutor instead of taking a detached attitude to a case takes side because of bribery or personal interest in the matter.
Many people in conflict with the law report that this corrupt attitude of police prosecutors has prejudiced their cases, causing them to spend unnecessary time in custody or to be wrongly found guilty.
To do a good job, the Police Prosecutor, who represents the complainant against the defendant, must have an upright mind because in court he/she explains what happened from the police viewpoint. He/she does not make the arrest but summarizes the information in the file prepared for me. His/her role is to ensure that the information he/she has is professionally collected and accurate in order not to prejudice the case of the defendant.
What personal attributes do Prosecutors need in other to do a good professional job? They need to be dispassionate, have exceptional judgment (as many complaints tend to make false allegations) and quick on the uptake. Above everything else, a good prosecutor needs to have an interest in criminal law and a strong passion for justice. A police prosecutor requires sound understanding of prosecution processes and procedures and able to listen effectively in order to pick flaws in what accusers and defendants say.
To do his/her work perfectly, a prosecutors must carefully analyze files and undertake legal research. Their work being so important, they need managers who monitor and supervise their work.
District Prosecution Managers who are lacking in our justice system provide management support, guidance and leadership to the staff within the office. They ensure Prosecutors have what they need to meet their full potential and provide key information to senior management.
The Satellite newspaper chose to comment on the role of the police prosecutor in the justice dispensation system because without them stepping up their game, the Legal Aid Board will still be faced with the same old problem of the law instead being an aid to poor litigants being their enemy and oppressor.