The Administration of Criminal Justice is now operational in Delta State following a bill for a law to make provision for administration of criminal justice and for related matters in Delta State.
The bill which was sponsored by the Honourable member representing Ika North East State Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Anthony Emeka Elekeokwuri, was passed by the Delta State House of Assembly and assented to on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 by the State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
The law no doubt has enlarged the scope of legal jurisprudence in the state and made administration of justice in the state easier as its in tandem with global best practices and current judicial realities.
The law which cures the problems and lacunae that have troubled the criminal justice delivery system in the State provide for the efficient management of criminal justice institutions, speedy dispensation of justice, protection of the society from crime and the protection of the right and interest of the suspect/defendant (as the case may be) and the victims of the crime.
Other provision of the Law includes;
1. Abolition of Arrested in Lieu/Place of Another: The Law here prohibits the arrest of anybody in place of another person, such as parents and spouses.
2. Humane Treatment of Arrested Suspects: This Law prohibits the torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of arrested persons which is in agreement with the right on dignity of human persons.
3. Direct Criminal Complaints: It provides here that any persons aggrieved by the criminal conduct of another person against him may institute a direct criminal complaints against an offender in court.
4. Women Sureties: Women are now competent under this Law to stand as surety for any suspect/ accused person in Delta State.
5. Plea Bargain: under this Law, the guidelines for plea bargain is elaborately provided to prevent abuse of same.
6. Abolition of Lay Prosecutors: This Law prohibits policemen who are non – lawyers from prosecuting cases thus preventing instances of shoddy prosecution on ground of lack of adequate training in Law, leading to loss of cases to lawyers on technical grounds.
7. Payment of Compensation/Restitution: under this Law the court is empowered to award adequate compensation to victims of crime or people who incur expenses as a result of the crime of others.
8. Office of The Attorney-General/DPP’s Advice: by the provision of this Law it is mandatory for the office of the Attorney -General/Director of Public Prosecution to give his advice within 14 days of the receipt of case file from the police.
9. Delay in Trial/Adjournments: The Law l provide for all criminal trials a day by day trials but where it is not convenient to the court, both the prosecution and the defence/defendant shall not entitled to more than 5 adjournments from the beginning of the case to its judgment.
10. Suspended Sentence/ Community Service: the court may by its discretion order convict of lesser offences to perform certain services in any community etc.
11. The law also provide for rehabilitation of offenders by making them undertake in productive ventures and prevent convicts of simple offences from mixing -up with hardened criminals.
Hon Elekeokwuri who is currently the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, has distinguished himself with this law that is germane to rights of all Deltans. Elekeokwuri is an astute lawmaker and the pride of the Sixth Assembly in Delta State.