The annual report for 2018/2019 office of the Attorney General has been presented before the president Bidhya Bhandari on 4th may has shown that the conviction rate of government case has gone down massively. As per the report,33.93% accused have got clean chit. Around 30,776 cases have been decided in favour of victm where as14, 540 cases have been decided in favour of accused of total registered cases.
Crime control and improving the conviction rate is one of the major responsibilities of police. There are many factors responsibles for increasing the conviction rate or decreasing it. Besides the role of investigating officers ,proper legal advice by the experts, producing the complainants and witness before the court on time during the trial and make sure they donot turn hostile are some of the factors behind the conviction rate.Specialized units like forensic laboratories ,medical experts,physical collection of evidence and its proper analysis among others also play an important role for securing conviction .
The investigation of criminal cases is solely the assigned task of police in our criminal justice system. Only prosecution will not secure conviction, enhancing the investigating skills of police personnel is necessary. The police officers must be equipped well. A lot of work is still done manually police officers are to be trained to use computers and the necessary knowledge of science and law.In every police office, separate prosecution cell is set up. The manner in which police investigations are conducted is of critical importance to the functioning of the Criminal Justice System. Not only serious miscarriage of justice will result if the collection of evidence is vitiated by error or malpractice, but successful prosecution of the guilty depends on a thorough and careful search for truth and collection of evidence which is both admissible and probative. In undertaking this search, it is the duty of the police to investigate fairly and thoroughly and collect all evidence, whether for or against the suspect.
Protection of the society being the paramount consideration, the laws, procedures and police practices must be such as to ensure that the guilty are apprehended and punished with utmost dispatch and in the process the innocent are not harassed. The aim of the investigation and, in fact, the entire Criminal Justice System is to search for truth. To achieve this objective, the investigating officers must be properly trained and supervised and necessary scientific and logistical support should be made available to them. The police perceive themselves psychologically and morally bound to do everything possible to curb crime and investigate the cases successfully to meet the peoples’ expectations. In this process the police often resort to short cut methods and exhibit negative traits of police sub-culture, namely, rudeness, use of third degree methods, defensiveness in face of criticism, lack of innovativeness etc. Even though investigation is the foundation of the Criminal Justice System.
The need for expeditious and effective investigation of offences as contributing to the achievement of the goal of speedy trial cannot be gain said. The investigation of crime is a highly specialized task requiring a lot of patience, expertise, training and clarity about the legal position of the specific offences and subject matter of investigation. It is basically an art of unearthing hidden facts with the purpose of linking up of different pieces of evidence for successful prosecution. Investigation requires specialization and professionalism of a type not yet fully achieved by the police agencies. It is basically an art of unearthing hidden facts with the purpose of linking up of different pieces of evidence for successful prosecution.
Another important aspect impacting on the quality of investigation is the insularity of the investigating officers and the supervisory ranks. For fair and impartial investigation, it is imperative that the investigating machinery is immune from political and other extra influences and acts in consonance with the law of the land and the Constitution. It has, however, been observed that the people in authority think nothing of wielding influence to scuttle and, even thwart, criminal investigations or to bend them to suit their political or personal conveniences. Therefore police officer engaging in criminal investigation should be equipped with modern technology and training and allow them work independently within the parameter of law to increase the conviction rate.
Enhance efficiency of Government Attorney (prosecutor)
In our criminal justice system, the role of public prosecutor has significant both during the investigation and procedding of the case in the court. During the investigation, the prosecutor has the right to give necessary direction to investigating officers; Investigating officers are to submit preliminary report within three days of its commencement of investigation. The attorney is to study the report minutely and provide necessary direction to the police officer regarding investigation, collection of evidence and abide by the direction is the legal duty of investigating officer .This practice should be done rigorously not only to make effective investigation but also to control the lapses.
During the record ing statement of accused, prosecutor must be vigliant and work as an umpire. Similarly. Prosecutor plays vital role in bringing the witnesses in the court during procedding ensuring their safety to declare their statements. In court hearing, prosecutor should work whole heartedly to defence the case in favor of victim. Continuous study, knowledge of related laws, art of advocacy and presentation of evidence in reliable and convincing manner are the basic skill to be gained. Due to large number of cases in hand , it is difficult to achieve desire result.Regular training,opportunity of higher studies and other monetary and non-monetary benefits and work load issue should be adressed immediately so that morale of prosecutor will be boosted up for better result. Judicial service seems to be less attractive to the jobseekers in comparision to other services,so to attaract the young and talented manpower , it is necessary to make this service also attractive adding motivating elements.
More Forensic laboratories
Forensic science is a scientific discipline which is directed to the recognition, identification, individualization and evaluation of physical evidence by the application of the principles and methods of natural sciences for the purpose of administration of criminal justice. It embraces all branches of science and applies to the purposes of law .It is mainly concerned with materials and indirectly through materials with men, places and time. In a nutshell, forensic science aims to help in crime investigation and justice delivery. “Man can tell a lie but the physical evidence not”. Physical evidence can be presented in the court as a mute and unbiased witness. Taking it into the consideration, most of the countries in world have established and authorized the forensic science laboratory to examine the physical evidence.
Forensic laboratories play significant role in order to collect scientific collection of evidence. We have two forensic lab Central Police Forensic Science Laboratory and national science lab situated in Kathmandu valley only. An upgraded forensic lab is to be setup at least in all provinces to ease the analysis of physical evidences collected during the investigating process. Techno man power and forensic expert should be made available. Forensic examinations help finding the reliable evidence that in turn helps to convince to justice provider. DNA profile, blood test,other physical evidence tested In forensic lab has greater impact in presenting the case in court . It is dire need of the hour, to facilitate such lab across the country, to increase the number of conviction rate in the days ahead.
Witness protection (controlling witness turning hostile)
The person who has seen the crime or who is the victim of the crime during the court procedding becomes hostile in most of the cases like rape, human trafficking etc. it is because of threat,influence or lack of insecurity from accused . They feel dangerous and insecure to live in society. Therefore, protecting witness is one of the major component to be adressed . Psychlogical counselling and assurance their safety definitely help them to put their views independently. We have many programmes launched recently, now effective implementation is required. Victim assistance programme and witness protection programme if operated properly, there will be graudual confidence in them and they help in criminal justic system stating the real fact which they have expressed during investigation phase.
Last but not the least , investigating officers and attorney must work in tandem to ensure effective criminal justic system. The joint and cooperative work supporrted by concern authorities help to get more success in government case . General public, politician and other stakeholder’s cooperation is equally important during whole process. The office of the attorney general should bring more innovative programmes which definetly helps us to increase our conviction rate.
(Mr Marasini holds master degree in English literature and public Administration with degree in law. A government lawyer ,currently works in office of the high attorney, Butwal. Above are the views expressed individually and does not represent the organisatiion and position. Can be reached at [email protected]