The Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, has explained as illegal the decision of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to adjourn the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, for two months since November.
This was contained in a petition dated November 30, and addressed to the tribunal’s chairman, Danladi Umar, the group alleged the adjournment from November 8 to January 11 goes against the provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
The petition, signed by CSNAC’s chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, condemned what the group described as previous “frivolous” adjournments on the matter since it began in September 2015.
“In a bid to hasten the dispensation of justice through speedily bringing criminals to book thereby checkmating the rise of crime in the society, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act was enacted in May 2015 to provide the much needed change to the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria,” CSNAC said. “In view of this, the Act provides for the day to day trial of criminal matters. In section 396, it provides as follows:
“Upon arraignment, the trial of the Defendant shall proceed from day to day until the conclusion of the trial”.
“Though the Act provides for short adjournment intervals where necessary, it also stipulates that the court may award reasonable costs in order to discourage frivolous adjournments. Furthermore, in order to achieve its aim of speedy dispensation of justice, the Act also completely bans any application for stay of proceedings in respect of criminal matters.
“The Act also provides that where day-to-day trial is impracticable, the interval between adjournments shall not exceed 14 working days. It is obvious that the duration from the last date of hearing till January is a violation of this Act and will only serve to defeat the purpose of speedy adjudication of criminal matters which the Act seeks to achieve, and which is the norm in well-developed societies across the world,” the group said.
The civil society group demanded that the tribunal avoid the “unlawful” act going forward.
“Your office take note of this unlawful Act, take measures to correct this violation and uphold provisions of the law,” it said.