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Hubbard urges justice to speed up the trial process

by   Rodney Pienaar 

The justice system has to speed up the process of trials and sentencing to avoid granting bail to repeated offenders, Coordinator of Gender Research and Advocacy at the Legal Assistance Centre Dianne Hubbard said this week.

He has said that granting bail to suspects is necessary as they are innocent until proven guilty although the state has to consider looking into possible finalisation of cases within one or two months.

“We have to consider all the options that we can for a possible solution to accused persons being released on bail and then committing the same crime again. 

“This can only be achieved if the law considers fast-tracking the investigation process by involving the law enforcement agents who mostly handles the investigation on the ground to gather all information needed for a person to stand for trial,” she said.

She further added that it would not be fair to keep an accused person of a minor crime in jail until they are tried as they could be found innocent at the end of the trial after spending months or years in prison. 

On the other hand, Namibia has witnessed people accused of minor crimes held in prison cells while they waited for trial, Hubbard said. 

“There have been cases in which accused persons have been denied bail for minor crimes such as shoplifting which is classified as theft in Namibia. There is a need that the court has to look at the nature of the crime. I mean theft cannot be compared to rape and murder, and I am not saying minor crimes should go unpunished we just need to look at these sort of issues from different angles,” she said.

She further noted that the law is there to consider all possibilities to avoid crime being repeated by the accused.

The common law states that an accused person has the right to be granted bail with 48 hours after they have been arrested as the investigations continue and if the person commits the same crime the law will revoke their bail funds and have the person in custody until the day of plea and trial. 

This week, The Villager reported that a repeat offender from Anker settlement in Kunene region who was let off with a warning under the domestic abuse act for assault and rape went on to rape and killed another.