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Refereed articles

The pathological malaise within the criminal justice system: Why the courts are not seen to be delivering

Lovell Fernandez argues that predictability must be restored to the justice system: potential offenders must know that if they commit a crime, there is a very strong possibility that they will be arrested, convicted and sentenced. The article outlines efforts being made to improve the functioning of the courts.

A pre-trial information system has been piloted in several courts to ensure that all the information needed for a speedy trial is available. The idea of reception courts has also been mooted to deal with administrative aspects of new cases that tend to bog down court proceedings. To respond to the need for effective witness management, Citizens Advice Desks have been set up. However, many of these programmes have been donor-funded and, it is argued, the authorities must include them in future state budgets. Joint training programmes of prosecutors with police investigating officers are also urged, as well as addressing the divided accountability of prosecutors to the Department of Justice on the one hand and the National Director of Public Prosecutions on the other.

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