WINDHOEK - During the past three months the Katutura Magistrate’s Court provisionally withdrew approximately 318 cases against accused persons.
For the months of April, May and June 2,630 cases were brought forward of which 548 cases were finalised. The court provisionally struck 172 cases from its roll while the prosecution provisionally withdrew 318 cases.
The vast number of cases were withdrawn due to incomplete police investigations, the prosecutor general’s decision, tracing of witnesses or withdrawals by complainants.
Last month Namibian Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga remarked while addressing police officers in a series of meetings that the office of the prosecutor general has complained of non-skilled investigating officers, sloppy work by investigators, lengthy periods it takes to finalise investigations and investigators who fail to comply with court instructions.
“If the leg of the criminal justice system does not do its job properly it will affect the whole system. The court can only work if there are cases to be trialed and the prosecutor general’s office can only work if there are cases to be prosecuted or not. But those cases should be provided by the police,” said Ndeitunga.
Ndeitunga added that when investigating officers fail to comply with further instructions from prosecutors, it leaves the magistrates with no option but to strike such cases from the court roll.
Additionally, there are officers who have failed their detective course but are busy investigating serious crimes.
Currently police investigating officers in Khomas Region are saddled with a massive 98,264 caseload putting them under severe strain.
State Advocate Dominic Lisulo says a successful prosecution depends on the interaction between the prosecutor and the investigator, adding that if investigators are not following guidelines set down by the prosecutor, the prosecutor will have major issues when cases go to trial.