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Chief Justice: Abolish inquiry system

Gercine Carter

Chief Justice: Abolish inquiry system

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Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson wants to see an end to preliminary inquiries in the Magistrate’s Court.
“Preliminary enquiries should be abolished,” he told the DAILY NATION. “The preliminary inquiry does not serve us well, has not served us well, is not serving us well and we really need to get rid of it.”
The Chief Justice pointed out that under existing laws people charged with felonies must first face an inquiry in the Magistrate’s Court to determine whether there was enough evidence for the matter to be heard by a judge in a High Court. He also explained that once that process was started, until its conclusion, the law dictated that the accused felon must be remanded and the magistrate “cannot give bail”.
He expressed concern that as a result of this law, “people sit in prison for many years because the preliminary inquiry system grinds on and on.”
Instead, he favours a system whereby the case goes directly to the High Court.