Prisoners’ rights defied: Court


PRISONERS have the rights to be brought to court and not kept because of the extension to the state of emergency (SOE), says a magistrate.
Central committal court Magistrate Laura Kuvi made the statement when all custody matters were not brought to court yesterday.
She said there was no explanation from police or Correctional Services why the defendants were not brought in.
“They have a right to be in court,” Magistrate Kuvi said.
“This is why some of them went and filed their human rights applications before Justice David Cannings at the National Court – they are not being brought to court.
“It’s not an issue of whether or not they are being lawfully held, it’s an issue of them coming to court.
“The issue is not about whether we should lock the defendants up, the issue is, what are the protocols in place to ensure that people are being brought down and brought up safely without being exposed to whether it’s a coronavirus or all of that.
“Procedures should have been ready as there are other contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, typhoid that the CS is faced with so this SOE has brought out a number of things that are not right with our procedures and processes.”
She told prosecutor George Vetari to bring the matter up with his superiors as she was going to inform senior magistrates and the chief magistrate of the matter.
Magistrate Kuvi told Vetari to go through custody matters with her clerk and have them listed so prisoners could return on those dates.
“In the meantime, there are number of cases that have gone a over the three-month period, use the opportunity to get your affidavits from arresting officers otherwise I’ll consider the discharge of the defendants, especially the ones in custody,” she said.