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JUSTICE IN TATTERS

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WE have always heard legal minds say ‘justice should not only be done but must be manifestly done’. They say justice must be seen to be done. This means a spectator watching from a distance should have no doubts that justice was administered in a matter.

There should be no doubt from an objective person looking into a case that indeed there was justice or the case was fairly decided. This then speaks to the person deciding the case as well as the system used in deciding the case.


While thinking as regards this, I then thought about our justice system and felt that impartiality in our country is not manifestly done. The reason is because even our justice structures are a mess. When there are always pertinent questions asked about the structures and no valid responses given, how would we expect justice to be seen to be done?


Expired


There are questions that are being asked about the Judicial Service Commission and those who occupy the office. We have heard that their term of office expired a long time ago but they continue to occupy the office and execute their duties with no problem. These are the people who appoint judges who must be seen to be administering justice.

What kind of judges will be recommended for appointment when the very same persons recommending are not supposed to be in office? In my opinion that is where the problem starts.


Clean record


The person who administers justice should be a person with a clean record. A clean record also applies to the people administering the justice. Our judges should be people who are close to being beyond reproach from an objective bystander.

It will never be good to have people with shady characters sitting on the bench because people will wonder what kind of justice will be administered. People who have admitted without being pressured that they are capable of changing decisions when put under pressure are not supposed to be on the bench.


This will lead to questions like how many decisions will he change under pressure? How many people will suffer injustice because the judge had been pressured? That will therefore lead to an objective bystander not having confidence in the justice system.


The late president of the Law Society (May his soul rest in peace) boldly told the world that justice was for sale in the country. He stated that there was evidence that justice was sold to the highest bidder. I cannot agree with him more even though some people would not want us to believe that. There is a former minister who is in the dock for having allegedly bought justice for his clients.

The question that begs to be answered than is, whether justice is still being sold to the highest bidder? It is for this reason I am of the view that they might be still selling justice to the highest bidder.


The Law Society is in court saying certain judges, who are supposed to be administering justice, are not supposed to have been appointed if the tenants of the law were being followed. With such a challenge, it would have been prudent for such people to have been stopped from sitting until they were cleared but that is not the case. What kind of justice are they dispensing? Is it not the justice that is sold to the highest bidder? I am not sure.


If the publications we read on a daily basis are to go by, we have the minister of Labour and Social Security telling Parliament that the strike by civil servants was legal and all processes were followed but the court stopped that strike.


The reason stated by the minister is that the strike was going to be detrimental to the State. Our court also gave a ruling disallowing the strike. Labour unions are now saying they know that courts are always going to rule against them.

Can they be blamed if a court stops even legal strikes with no good reason and precedent shows that the court always rules against them. Is this not a sign that our justice is in tatters?

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