Thursday, 28 June 2012
My Interview with the High Court Registrat
By Anrite, Extern, Defence for Children
Upon helping Rebecca King – a Canadian Law Student on her research, though being with her for a very short time, I was privileged to be involved in an interview with a registrar of the High Court who has been there for twenty eight years. In his interview, he gave a justification for the slow progress of the law with regards to victims' cases.
He said that when the case is committed, it has to be processed before it is called upon in the High Court. It goes through the Law Officers’ Department for scrutiny to validate and set a date. There are usually tons of cases already awaiting trial. The judges have to take written report of proceedings. Sometimes also, the surety for the accused person gives wrong address upon securing bail. Even the accused gives wrong address at times thereby making tracing a problem. The victims may appear but there is no lawyer to prosecute the matter. With no legal advise, they may tend to make wrong pleadings. The victim may be absent, the witnesses may be absent and sometimes even the police officer who should serve as witness are absent. In such situations, the court will order a subpoena but this is no good if the accused or the victim cannot be reached. Furthermore, judges are not around all the time as they may be in conferences, vacations, on medical and few absences are as a result of personal reasons. In addition, the court operates like a school of some sort in the sense that the court goes on vacation at different times of the year. During this period, no court employee will be actively on duty and the judges are no exception. He added that if all the parties – victims, accused, police officers and lawyers are present, the case will be dealt with in a timely manner.
But is this ever the case? And is the system improving or otherwise? These I believe are questions that are deeply rooted in our justice system?