Ogun Judiciary begins online court proceedings

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By Joy Akinsanya

Abeokuta – The Ogun Judiciary on Wednesday commenced visual proceedings for speedy dispensation of justice in the state and as part of the measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The State Attorney-General, Mr Gbolahan Adeniran, speaking after the virtual sitting at the High Court 1, presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, said that the process became necessary to speed up judicial process.

Adeniran said that judicial process had been stalled due to the spread of Coronavirus, hence, the need for it to test and ensure that judicial proceedings were done partly online and physically in the court room.

He added that the judicial process in the country has to move toward electronic management system, document management system and electronic proceedings.

Adeniran said that the judicial staff would be trained on the development for effective and efficient system.

He said: “We are training them, and one of the things we mentioned to them today is, rather than train them separately, we teach as many as possible, because it is not only in one court room that we intend to deploy this.

“We want to deploy it statewide, and so, we train them by watching and learning how to operate the equipment.

“So, today they are not fully proficient, but hopefully in a week’ time, they be fully proficient.

“As you can imagine, we are very conscious about safety and health, which is one of the reasons we are doing this in the first place.

“The defendants in prison do not have to come out to be exposed to the Coronavirus.

“If we need to do it after lockdown is lifted, we can do it online.

“We can do a lot of workshops online. Even, after the lockdown is lifted, we have to be conscious about social distancing and measures the NCDC has prescribed.”

According to him, today, Ogun State Judiciary tested and ensured that we can hold proceedings partly online and partly physically in the court room.

“This is to enable us to return to business, the Coronavirus cannot put an end to judicial proceedings because justice must always be present.

“It is the only way to go and even after and before Coronavirus, the judiciary across the country should have been moving toward more electronic management system.

“We should be able to have witnesses and defendants attend or online and we are aspiring toward that.

“Now, today, what we did was proof of concept to show that it can work and indeed it worked,” he said.

Also, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Olusegun Olaotan, commended the state government for introducing technology into the criminal justice in the state.

“You know nothing is static in life; the Coronavirus pandemic has brought out the ingenuity in us to look for a way out; so, we don’t keep criminals in detention perpetually.

“Nobody knows when this pandemic end; does it mean that as long as it is with us, we will keep people in custody?

“So, this is an avenue for us to begin to work on their cases, though we are in lockdown.

“So, everybody in the state should be happy that we have this technology with us now.

“And, it is not only for now, even after the lockdown, it’ a way for us to go. We have to make progress,” he said.