POLICE spokesperson Esther Katongo has justified that a suspect may be detained beyond 48 hours before appearing before the courts if the police feel the suspect must not be released on police bond.
Last week, Human Rights Commission chairperson Mudford Mwandenga raised concern on the continued “unlawful detention” of suspects by the police as it was against their democratic right to appear before the courts of law within 48 hours after being detained, as required by law.
But in an interview, Katongo also compared instances when the courts may also deny the suspect bail depending on the reasons which they have.
“The law states that a suspect should be taken before the courts within 48 hours but there are instances where the police may feel that the suspect may not be released on police bond. Just like there are instances when the court may feel that the suspect may not be released on bail depending on the reasons which they have as well as reasons which we advanced before court. So if there are such concerns and those concerns are brought before court, we are going to respond as per reason why we could not release the suspect on bond,” Katongo explained.
And when asked regarding a matter where UPND special assistant to the president Mubita Nawa was detained for 14 days without being taken to court before his release over the weekend, Katongo said the police were waiting to see whether the docket which was forwarded to the National Prosecutions Authority would be sent back to them.
“To begin with, officers who are dealing with any particular matter may release the suspect on police bond or depending on their reasons and concerns which they may have, may not release the suspect on police bond. So at this particular point, officers had concluded the matter and forwarded the docket to the National Prosecutions Authority. So meaning that we had to wait if at all the docket was to be brought back, that is when there can be chance that the suspect was going to be released on police bond. But if the docket was to proceed to court, then it will mean that the suspect maybe released upon making a request to the court by the suspect to be released on bail,” Katongo stated.
“All the records which went to NPA on the docket, indicated that the suspect was in custody. So we could not release because in an instance where the matter is taken to court, then the records will be showing that the person has to come from detention. So at this particular moment, the suspect may not be released on bond not until we access that the docket was taken to court so that he is released on bail.”