CJN Lauds Supreme Court’s Achievement, Calls For Comprehensive Review Of Criminal Laws

CJN Aloma-MukhtarThe Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Muhktar, on Monday said the Supreme Court delivered 179 judgments in the 2012/2013 legal year.

Muhktar, who made the disclosure at the beginning of the new legal year in Abuja, said judgment consisted of 137 civil and 42 criminal appeals.

She said the court received 511 cases consisting of 416 civil and 95 criminal appeals, adding that it heard 280 cases consisting of 224 civil and 56 criminal appeals.

“Apart from the court dealing with the civil and criminal cases, it had the responsibility of determining a host of constitutional cases that were requisite to the existence and progress of the country.

“This is undoubtedly a tremendous achievement and I must congratulate and commend my learned brother justices for their exemplary dedication, hard work and commitment to duty.

“As part of my contribution to the speedy dispensation of justice, I have also in the legal year issued a new Practice Direction for the Supreme Court.

“The focal point of which is the expeditious administration of criminal appeals as well as the speedy determination of interlocutory appeals.

“To match words with action is the fact that recently; seven justices were recalled from vacation to preside over the Ondo State gubernatorial matter.

“The judgment would have been barred, had the court waited till the end of the vacation.’’

On the effort of the police in the dispensation of the criminal justice system, the CJN said “our police force has been doing the best they can.

“But it is greatly out-paced by sophistication given to criminals by our archaic and culturally irrelevant laws.

“There is need for a comprehensive restatement of our criminal laws to take into account what is relevant for retention and update regularly.

“The problem is exacerbated by the unwholesome practice of some of our security agents involved in the criminal justice administration system.

“It is common knowledge that our security agencies usually rush to the courts with suspects before looking for evidence to prosecute them.

“The persistent use of the holden charge by these agencies to detain awaiting trial suspects is a major contributor to the high number of cases pending in our courts’’, she noted.