Friday, 8 July 2022

LONG COURT DELAYS FRUSTRATE DOCS

THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has apologised to private doctors over delays they encounter at the hands of court officials when summoned to testify as witnesses.

The Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA) on Wednesday wrote a letter to the NPA complaining about the way their members were treated at the courts.

“On many occasions medical professionals have become reluctant to deal with courts as State witnesses because of the blatant delays they encounter at the hands of court officials. Doctors are at times required to give oral evidence, unfortunately they may be forced to warm the court benches for long hours while waiting to do so,” wrote MDPPZA secretary-general Cleto Masiya to the NPA.

“This is detrimental to their ethical duties of serving suffering patients in their respective clinics or hospitals taking cognisance of the gross understaffing in many healthcare facilities. This is different from a scenario where medical practitioners are the accused persons.”

MDPPZA president Johannes Marisa also raised similar concerns in his weekly column published in NewsDay on Thursday, prompting the NPA to react.

Yesterday the NPA apologised to the doctors in a letter signed by an A Kumire from the National Inspectorate, Training, Legal Reform, Research and Anti-corruption Unit.

“The National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe sincerely apologises for the discourteous poor and insensitive treatment you were subjected to when you attended court at Harare Magistrates Courts (Rotten Row) as a witness and you were kept in attendance for six hours,” Kumire wrote.

“Our standard operating procedures for officers in the Magistrates Courts, High Court and Supreme Court provide that ‘the importance of witness in the criminal justice system can never be over-emphasised’. Witnesses who come to testify in cases must be treated with all the courtesy and respect which they deserve.”

“Remedial action will be taken through our National Inspectorate, Training and Anti-corruption Unit. We assure you that every measure will be taken to prevent a recurrence of this most disturbing episode.”Newsday

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