Nimba Judge Attributes Increase in Crime to Delay in Trying Detainees

SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – Judge James N. Gilayeneh at the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court has attributed the crowded prisons around the country to the lack of cases being tried in a timely manner.

He said cases are not being prosecuted fast enough, causing them to remain on the docket until the two-term legal limit ends.

“If you don’t try somebody within the two terms of court, that warrants a dismissal,” Gilayeneh said.

There are about 41 pending cases currently on the judge’s desk for the November term of court and he said there would not be enough time to prosecute those cases before the 42-day court term is completed. Among those cases are two statutory rape cases and a murder case.

But while limited time is a concern, Gilayeneh said the difficulty in getting witnesses to testify can cause significant delays and often leads to accused criminals being set free.

“If the witnesses are available in these cases, we will do our best to reduce these cases, but remember we have only 42 days [for a term of court],” he said. “Even if we divide the 41 cases by the 42 days, we should be doing one case per day, which is not possible.”

Gilayeneh said because criminals are aware of the crowded docket of the court, they are taking advantage of committing crimes, knowing that they will not be incarcerated for long in the interest of human rights.

“People are committing crimes because they know that the court is not able to persecute all cases at the same time,” he said.

The issue of a high number of cases on dockets resulting in an unreasonably high number of pretrial detainees was also recently raised by the judge at the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Gbarnga.

Featured photo by Arrington Ballah

Arrington Ballah

A resident of Ganta, Nimba County, Arrington has a background working with credit unions and other organizations dedicated to rural finance.

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