It was recently reported that the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, had just concluded special training for special Judges.A Lagos based Lawyer Tony Ezeani Esq has condemned it as unconstitutional. It is my opinion that the special training is unconstitutional, in a constitutional democracy, the principle of separation of power forbids the Presidency to meddle in the affairs of the judiciary and usurp the functions of the Judiciary, which is supposed to be an independent organ of government which should be empowered to carry out the function of training judges. The need for the independence of the judiciary cannot be over emphasised in order to protect the liberty of citizens and ensure that a defendant in a criminal proceeding will still receive a fair trial. A trial judge ought to be an independent and impartial arbiter, he should not be seen or perceived as working for the State (EFCC, FRN, ICPC or COP). Section 36 of our constitution provides for a fair trial for a person accused of commiting an offence because in the eye of the law he is perceived as an innocent person until the contrary is proven. What I see now, with Special Judges, is conviction, conviction and conviction in order to please the State. The Executive shouldn’t be meddling in the business of the judiciary likewise, judicial Officers shouldn’t be seen as being partial or working for the State. I have witnessed where a Magistrate had to stand down a matter, invited the prosecutor for a tutorial before resuming hearing again, I then advised the defendant ‘s Counsel to request for a transfer of the case. Note that many people are wrongly accused, if the judge is not independent, the accused will not receive a fair trial and may eventually be convicted of an offence he didn’t commit. Note that justice is rooted in the confidence and confidence is destroyed when a right thinking person walks away thinking that the judge is biased. My point is that the training should have been done by NJC and not Ministry of Justice or EFCC or Prof. Sagay’s Committee.
Sent in by Tony Ezeani Esq