Lawyer pleads to fast track cases


A lawyer has pleaded for the courts to fast track criminal cases, proposing that cases be heard even before defendants are served with police hand-up briefs.
Agnes Peter from the Public Solicitors Office raised the concern before Magistrate Paul Nii in the Waigani Committal Court.
The court process involves cases being sent to the office of the Public Prosecutor to determine whether it falls under the schedule two offences, and if so, it would only be dealt in the grade five court.
“Due to this, it is likely that the defendants will be in custody for a long time,” Peter said.
“The process should, as other magistrates have said, should be done earlier before the police hand-up briefs are served to the defendants.
“It is just a matter of looking at the police information and the charges.
“You will know straight from the police information if the charge is under the schedule two offence and you can write to the public prosecutor and have the matter heard whether by a committal court or a grade five court.
“I suggest the magistrate’s court should set a guideline for the process to take place prior to the police file being served on the defendants.
“Because in the grade five court, you do not need the evidence or police file to conduct a trial.
“You can just rely on the information and the witnesses.
“So in that way, the process can be fast-tracked.” Peter said.
Magistrate Nii told Peter that he would only make a decision with a police file.