Covid-19: Borno State Judiciary’s Practice Direction for Online Court Sitting

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE OF BORNO STATE OF NIGERIA

No. 1/2020

EXERCISING the powers vested in me by sections 6 (6) and 274 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and section 68 of the High Court Law (Cap. 63) Laws of Borno State of Nigeria 1994, and all other laws and powers enabling me in that regard;

Online Court Sittings (OCS) Practice Directions

I, Honourable Justice Kashim Zannah, Chief Judge of Borno State, hereby direct that:

These Practice Directions shall apply to pending criminal trials with respect to all sittings of court, particularly those not requiring the taking of oral evidence.

1. OBJECTIVES AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES

a. The purpose of these Practice Directions is to enable courts continue with pending criminal trials despite the lockdown and suspension of court sittings occasioned by the corona virus pandemic;

b. To conclude all those trials that can proceed remotely so as to further decongest the correctional centres and reduce traffic to and from the centres of persons standing trial before the courts;

c. To fulfil the duty to accord speedy trials, particularly to the cases of persons remanded in custody.

d. To leverage technology in enabling speedy criminal trials and in the process acquiring the skill and confidence to expand the scope of applicable technology and the cases and stages for application.

2. DIRECTIONS: Courts may dispense with sitting physically in the bricks and mortar Court Halls and sit online, utilising appropriate conferencing applications:

a. Upon the application of the accused person, who, while the lockdown and prohibition of interaction with persons awaiting trial by the Correctional Service subsists, waives his right to be present at the trial;

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b. At the courts’ discretion, when the accused person may join and be present online at his trial from the Correctional Centre or any appropriate physical location;

c. Appropriately according audio-visual, but non-participatory, access to the public to observe the proceedings; and d. Guided but not strictly confined to the Online Court Sittings (OCS) Guidelines pursuant to these directions.

These directions shall take effect from the 24th day of April 2020

GIVEN UNDER MY HAND AT MAIDUGURI THIS 23″ DAY OF APRIL, 2020.

Signed:

Chief Judge, High Court of Borno State.
OCS Practice Directions

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