The Director of Public Prosecutions, Jane Frances Abodo, has advised police to release on bond all suspects arrested for minor offences to decongest cells as they implement Standard Operating Procedures during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Her advice follows the new presidential directive and the Ministry of Health guidelines on Covid-19 issued on June 6 2021 to contain and curb the spread of the virus in the country.
Abodo noted that they will only be handling serious criminal cases especially those that pose a threat to public order and harmony and bail applications shall be handled whenever the courts are sitting.
“With regard to cases arising from the enforcement of measures and efforts to curtail the spread of Covid-19, determine whether a triable offence under the law has been committed, ensure that inquiries are complete before sanctioning any charges, sanction cases where there is sufficient evidence against a suspect and do not object bail,” she said.
She noted that criminal offences that should be heard as a matter of urgency should be brought to the attention of the court adding that complainants will only be allowed to file written complaints at the registries and will follow up either on phone or email after a period of 42 days.
“The registry staff shall avail or display the phone numbers and email addresses of the complainants, management officers as well as the heads of stations. Officers in charge of field stations are to designate a staff member to receive correspondences where possible,” she noted.
She stated that staff stationed at the courts with audio visuals facilities should be readily available when the court decides to proceed.
She ordered all staff members to work from home after announcing the closure of their offices with the exception of the open registry in a bid to control the spread of the virus among the staff.
“Staff retained at office premises should adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines to frequently wash hands with soap for 20 seconds or sanitise. Staff are advised and encouraged to go for vaccination at the designated vaccination centres,” she noted.