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Judge counsels police, others on parade of suspects

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Justice Cyprian Ajah of the Enugu State High Court on Thursday charged the police and other law enforcement agencies to stop parading criminal suspects in their custody.

Ajah made the call in a paper he presented at the ongoing training on the Implementation of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 and Human Rights for Officials of Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigeria Police Force, and Judiciary in Enugu.

He described the parade of suspects when they are still perceived as innocent as media trial.

The judge said: “Mental torture is deeper and lasts longer than physical torture.

“The constitution presumes every accused person as innocent until proven guilty from the point of the law.

“So, when you parade a person before the public, through the television, radio and newspapers, the public see him as a criminal, perceive him as a criminal and most times treat him or her as one.

READ ALSO: Police parade 49 suspects allegedly terrorizing Abuja

“Incidentally, when the person undergoes trial and is discharged and acquitted, there will be no opportunity of parading him again to say that he is innocent.

“Those who watched him before that had labelled him a criminal would not have the opportunity or time to watch him paraded as innocent.

“It is unfair hearing. It is bad and the constitution and the laws of the land are wholly against all forms of media and sensational trial of any suspects outside the court.

“The innocent person in question continues to suffer torment and mental torture throughout his lifetime and become a subject of humiliation and scorn even among his own people.”

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