High Court criticizes PGO for blaming lower courts ‘to hide own carelessness’

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem speaks at a press conference on August 3, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The High Court voiced heavy criticism against the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) on Monday, accusing it of blaming lower courts to put “band aids” to cover up their own blunders during trials.

The court voiced the criticism when issuing its ruling in the appeal of the decision by the Criminal Court to release a suspected drug trafficker arrested by the police last month.

The police had found drug paraphernalia from the scene of the crime. But the prosecution did not raise this at the court.

The Criminal Court therefore did not take it into consideration when making its decision, and released the suspect citing a clean criminal record for the last five years.

The decision was appealed by the prosecution with the High Court.

In its ruling on Monday, the High Court said that “there is no legal basis for coming to appeal courts and arguing about the seriousness of a crime and the consequences of the release of a suspect to try to put a band aid on the state’s careless acts and blunders every time.”

The court described it as an act that undermines the credibility of the judiciary.

The prosecution attempted portray that the lower court released the suspect despite the insurmountable evidence against him, and with complete disregard to the severity of the crime, said the High Court in its ruling.

The court said that this was not what happened, and that the prosecution had failed to make many key points before the lower court.

“Hearing the state’s points of appeal alone, one would wonder how careless courts are – that they released a suspect despite being well aware of the fact that he is a drug trafficker. This creates a negative image regarding judges and is totally unacceptable,” said the court.

The High Court said that while the PGO claimed that the lower court failed to refer to certain points, the police had been completely honest and told the court what they didn’t raise at the lower court at the time.

The High Court sided with the Criminal Court in the matter.