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Lawyers advocate regular training, re-training of police prosecutors

Some lawyers on Thursday called for the regular training and re-training of police prosecutors across the country to regular training and re-training of police prosecutors.

The lawyers  made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos state.

According to them, some charges drafted by some police prosecutors fall short of legal requirements, while the justice sector will do better if police officers and men, who were not lawyers, are  given the requisite training.

NAN reports that while lawyers are engaged to charge and prosecute offenders before the high courts, police officers are saddled with the responsibility of charging and prosecuting offenders in the magistrates’ courts.

A constitutional lawyer, Mr Spurgeon Ataene, noted that engagement of police prosecutors were unavoidable due to  adequate competent manpower.

He claimed that it was difficult to employ the services of lawyers to prosecute  all cases in court.

“I must confess to you that a lot of these police prosecutors are not equipped for the job; that is why it is important to organise training, workshops and seminars for them from time to time.

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“Without the training, those who have not equipped themselves with the right education may continue to get it wrong.

“There are prosecutors who are not lawyers but have acquired the right skills; other prosecutors in need of knowledge can tap from these colleagues,” he said.

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He urged governments to effectively screen prosecutors so as to determine and use those fit for the task since they formed an integral part of the justice sector.

Mr. Micheal Dugeri, a Senior Associate with Austen-Peters and Co law firm, noted  that issues arose from inefficiency of prosecution.

According to him, many criminal cases in magistrates’ courts are poorly prosecuted largely due to the absence of requisite skills by some police prosecutors.

He added that some awaiting trial inmates often stayed long in custody due to inefficiency of prosecution; thus, causing congestion of prisons.

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“This is one problem leading to another following poor prosecution and which ultimately leads to prison congestion; government is called upon to look into this area of prosecution and address same,” he said.

Mr Samuel Esoga, who works  with ATL Solicitors, Lagos, claimed that some criminal cases were lost in magistrates’ courts due to poor prosecution by inefficient prosecutors.

According to him, when faced in court by versatile and vibrant lawyers, poorly-equipped prosecutors lose their grips and are often “boxed” into a corner.

He advised that governments could also hire competent external solicitors to work in collaboration with police prosecutors to enhance justice delivery. (NAN)