The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition was one of the more hopeful signs witnessed in our country for some time. It was a ‘mustard seed’ event which, if nurtured, has the potential to bring forth great things and transform relationships for the good of the national community. That the meeting was, reportedly, cordial and constructive was also good.
What was not good was the disagreement on how to proceed with the 53 part-heard matters left behind by the former Chief Magistrate and which, because there are multiple accused in some matters, are said to involve almost 100 persons. While most of the debate on the actions and omissions of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission has centred on the roles of the Chief Justice and the former Chief Magistrate, the result of the matter has been that a large number of persons have been seriously prejudiced by the outcome of the conflict which arose between the JLSC and the former Chief Magistrate.
Arguably, these accused have already been prejudiced by a criminal justice system that has left some of them on remand for many years in conditions which are overcrowded and inhumane. These accused now face the prospect of their matters having to be restarted afresh and, therefore, face continued prejudice and suffering without determination of their guilt or innocence.