The Botswana Police has raised concern about the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in the country, saying it is negatively affecting service delivery, mostly in criminal cases, thus delaying justice.
Botswana Police Deputy Commissioner Operations, Kenny Kapinga, told The Telegraph that disposal of cases in the country is slow, takes a longtime, and said it compromises the effectiveness of the law. He stated that the process should take the shortest time possible.
“Some repeat criminal offenders are granted bail after committing serious crimes such as armed robbery, business and housebreakings,” said Kapinga. He stated that permanent stay of prosecution has been affecting his organization.
Kapinga said that procedural issues that tilted in favour of the accused person are also a concern, pointing out that it is unfair, according to the criminal justice system. He said that at the beginning of the trial, all necessary documents to be used to prepare for defence should be available.
“A lot of defence aspects in many criminal cases reduces the trial process into a game of ambushes,” said Kapinga, adding that the police’s top priority issues have been slow because of some elements in the criminal justice system.
On the issue of aspect of sentencing, the accused person has the privilege of mitigation, which Kapinga viewed as also being unfair to the victim. “Victim impact statement- where the offence has affected the victim, should be taken into consideration,” said Kapinga. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
National Criminal Justice Consultative Committee (NCJCC) has been formed to address criminal justice cases. The committee is reported to meet every three months with other stakeholders such as the Judiciary, Attorney General Chambers, Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation, Botswana Police and DCEC. It was formed to tackle and improve inefficiency in the country.
Kapinga urged the academic communities, such as the University of Botswana, to start showing more interest academically in areas of criminal justice reform in Botswana. He said advocacy on that should be spread. He stated that the Botswana Police has always been giving criminal justice system efficiency in Botswana top priority. He also raised a concern about the increasing high rate of criminal activities around the country, which has been affecting the country’s business sector and individuals.