The National, Thursday May 29th, 2014
CHIEF Magistrate Nerrie Eliakim (pictured) has denied reports that magistrates are refusing to hear cases relating to alcohol in Mendi, Southern Highlands.
Eliakim said a case involving eight people in Mendi earlier this year, in which a magistrate was implicated, forced magistrates to disqualify themselves from hearing it for “perceived bias”.
She said senior provincial magistrates and magistrates stood ready to discharge their duties as required under the Constitution.
“From our registry records in Mendi, 12 liquor-related cases were registered since Feb 2014 which SPM John Kaumi and his two magistrates duly disposed of.
“This includes five cases that were transferred from Ialibu to Mendi recently,” Eliakim said.
Apart from the liquor-related cases, Mendi District Court also dealt with over 100 criminal and over 60 civil cases in the past two weeks.
“I have already instructed another magistrate from outside Mendi to hear this outstanding case as soon as practical,” she said.
“When we play our role well, we contribute towards creating a society that is safe, secure, just and orderly.”
Eliakim will be requesting a meeting with the Police Commissioner to identify areas where they can further cooperate.
“These areas include where we can help each other expedite court cases, as well as improving on our reporting and communication protocols,” she said.