Minor offenders released due to overcrowding: Police

National

By MARJORIE FINKEO
MINOR offenders in Southern Highlands are being released because of overcrowding in cells and delays to hearings in the Ialibu Courthouse, police say.
Provincial police Commander Inspector Gideon Kauke told The National that police cells in Mendi normally held 40 detainees but had 60 to 70 now.
It was a serious concern that provincial authorities should look into urgently, he said.
“Police cannot continue to go out and make arrests, bring the offenders into the cell. There is no longer space to keep them as they are human beings like us too,” Kauke said.
Kauke said the main cause for the increase in numbers was that there was no court house in Mendi.
The courthouse there was burnt down last year by people unhappy with a court decision regarding the elections.
The Ialibu Courthouse currently has only one magistrate who is hearing cases for detainees in Mendi and the process has been slow.
Kauke said it was taking forever to clear out offenders and the situation was beyond their control to release the minor offenders.
“Police are no longer attending to minor incidents but most times they deal with it and send them away, only the major incidents are considered,” he said.
“Provincial authorities and the Department Justice and Attorney-General should really look into the problems faced in Southern Highlands and do something about it,” Kauke said.
He said it was also a high risk and costly for officers transporting detainees from Mendi to Ialibu for court hearings.

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