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DPP Advises Police to Release Suspects on Minor Cases

Jacquelyn Okui, the Spokesperson of the DPP, says lists some of the minor cases as common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, thefts involving items of low value and burglaries among others.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Jane Frances Abodo
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Jane Frances Abodo has advised police to release on bond all suspects arrested for minor offences. This is part of the Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution-DPP during the second wave of the Corona Virus pandemic.

According to Justice Abodo, they will only be handling serious criminal cases especially those that pose a threat to public order and harmony. Jacquelyn Okui, the Spokesperson of the DPP, says lists some of the minor cases as common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, thefts involving items of low value and burglaries among others.   

 In a statement issued this morning, Justice Abodo, says that they will maintain 30percent presence at all times within 42 days and officers must make sure that inquiries are done before sanctioning any charges in line with the presidential directives issued on June 6th 2021.  

"With regard to cases arising from the enforcement of the 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 to bail”, reads the directive in part.

"Complainants will only be allowed to file written complaints at the registries and will follow up either on a phone or email after a period of 42 days” reads the statement. Adding that, “the registry staff shall avail or display the phone numbers and email address of the complaints management officers as well as the heads of stations and a staff member should be designated to receive correspondences where possible.”  

In order to observe the SOPs, Abodo also is discouraging all person to person interactions including internal and external meetings and instead of encouraging electronic communication. As such, the DPP has also indicated that their headquarters are closed to the public with the exception of the open registry.

"Criminal cases that should be heard as a matter of urgency should be brought to the attention of courts," adds the statement.  Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga has not yet commented on the DPP’s advice to the force to release suspects on minor offences as he could neither pick nor return calls from our reporter to his known mobile phone number.  

The DPP’s statement comes days after the Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo issued a public circular guiding how courts should operate within the 42 days. In his circular, Owiny-Dollo suspended all court hearings and encouraged lawyers or parties to file written submissions for cases that are at the stage of submission, adding that only urgent cases are the ones that are going to be attended to in strict observation of SOPs. 

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