Ensuring justice within a reasonable timeframe is pivotal to upholding the fundamental right for a fair trial. Delays can infringe on an individual’s rights and erode public trust in the judicial system.
In the case Giordian Azuogu Ohaegbu* vs State Advocate, the plaintiff endured a staggering 16-year long criminal trial with no hope regarding the date when the proceedings against him would finally be decided. In its judgment, the Court found that the way the case was handled was distressing and disastrous. It observed that despite the case not being especially complex, for several years, and throughout numerous sittings, no progress whatsoever was made by the prosecution.
The Court thus awarded the plaintiff €4,500 in damages and, more importantly, ordered immediate closure of the prosecution’s evidence in the case, with a strict deadline of 30 days for the Attorney General to issue the bill of indictment. In case of non-compliance, the Attorney General’s office is to pay a further €50 for each day of delay.
*Plaintiff was represented by Dalli Advocates.