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Administration Of Criminal Justice Law To End Criminal Trials Within Six Months --- Delta Attorney-General

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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With the several radical and novel provisions introduced into the Delta State Administration of the Criminal Justice Law, 2017, criminal trials would now be concluded within six months of commencement, the Delta State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor, has said.

The Attorney-General gave the while addressing staff of the Ministry during an enlarge meeting on Thursday in Asaba, commended the State House of Assembly on the passage of the bill, saying that the Governor would not withhold his assent to the bill as the Law is aimed at fast tracking justice delivery.

According to the Justice Commissioner all previous provisions such as trial within trial, admissibility of statements, consent orders and no case submission which slowdown trials have been expunged from the new Law paving way for accelerated trial.

While highlighting the immeasurable contributions of the Ministry toward the enactment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, Mrakpor, promised to make copies of the new law available to Lawyers in the Ministry free of charge.

He told staff of the Ministry to brace up for the challenge ahead as the Ministry of Justice was poise to deliver quality service to the people and Government of the State.

On the creation of the Public Advisory Services Unit, the Justice Commissioner disclosed that the Unit offers free legal advice to Deltans and non-Deltans alike irrespective of social status in line with the Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration believe that the right of the people to access to justice and legal representation must be protected. He said with the establishment of the Public Advisory Services Unit, Deltans irrespective of status can take now advantage of the initiative which he described as laudable and people oriented.

Speaking further, the Attorney-General while explaining the modus oparandi of the new Unit, disclosed that the Ministry was working in synergy with the Members of the Nigerian Bar Association that has indicated interest to render probono services to litigants.

Other Units created by the Ministry to render specialized legal services include Rape/Sexual Assault/Child Rights Unit, Justices of the Peace merged with the existing Civil Service Unit, Legislative Drafting Unit and Commercial Drafting Unit, Office of the Public Defender Unit, Litigations and Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit.

As part of efforts to rebrand the Ministry and boost the morale of Legal Officers, the Attorney-General unveiled the new logo of the Ministry while he announced plans to design lapel pins with the Ministry’s new logo, branded ties for male officers and scarfs for female lawyers to be worn during special events and NBA conferences to showcase Delta State.

Speaking on the appointment of Justices of Peace in the State, the Attorney-General affirmed that Justices of the Peace plays critical role in the Administration of the Criminal Justice Law and to enhance their responsibilities, stamps and seals, brooches, customized car stickers and vehicle plate numbers will be assigned as part of efforts to reposition the Justices of the Peace.

While commending Staff of the Ministry for their dedication to duty and exhibiting professionalism and competency in the discharge of their duties, Mrakpor explained that the creation of the Legislative and Commercial Legal Drafting Units was aimed at reducing consultancy in government business.

Earlier, the Acting Solicitor-General/Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Ben Odigwe in his welcome remarks said the meeting was in furtherance of the Attorney-General’s promise of having regular meetings with staff to sensitize them on the new direction of the Ministry.

While soliciting for the support and cooperation of all staff, Mr Odigwe commended the Attorney-General for all the reforms programme and initiatives embarked upon for improve service delivery.