The presiding judge of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, Justice Mohammed Garba on Thursday in Lagos absolved the judiciary of blame in the parade of suspects by prosecutorial agencies.
Speaking at the annual Seminar/Workshop of the National Association of Judicial Correspondents Garba said the court could not make a pronouncement on the legality or otherwise of practice, which could be termed as media trial, because the matter was not brought before it.
Garba, who was represented by Appeal Court judge, Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu, noted that media trial was now widespread among prosecuting agencies.
He said: “Sadly, most of the agencies we have now who have both investigative and prosecutorial powers engage so much in media trial.
“But, if they don’t blow their trumpet, nobody will blow it for them and it’s only when they blow their trumpet as to what they are doing that we will know that they are actually working.
“What can the judiciary do? The judiciary only works on what is brought before it. Unless there is a case that has been brought for judicial pronouncement, the judiciary will not make any pronouncement on whether it is wrong or not.
“So, the judiciary is not self-activating, the jurisdiction of a court is only invoked when such a matter comes for judicial pronouncement and until such matter comes, the judiciary cannot do anything.”
Garba described the choice of the theme of the seminar, which is ‘Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015: Innovations, challenges and the way forward’, as commendable.
He said the Act contained at least 27 innovative provisions that could revolutionise justice administration.
The judge also lamented that Nigeria appears to have the highest number of confessional statements used as basis of findings during police investigation.
He urged the police to do more investigation rather than waiting for a confessional statements to unravel a crime.
In his presentation the Managing Editor, Online and Special Publications, The Nation Newspapers, Lekan Otunfodunrin, reminded journalists of the constantly changing nature of their profession.
He urged them to keep up with technological innovations to improve their skills or risk losing their livelihoods to new media practitioners.
Otufodunrin said: “New media has disrupted the traditional journalism which most of us were trained in and have been practicing for years. There is the need to be alert to new developments in our profession to avoid becoming a relic.
“Not only has new technology demystified our long age claim to being Gate Keepers and turned us into purveyors of stale information, the economic recession is gradually strangulating our operations.
“Instead of living in denial about our precarious circumstance or dismissing the threat of the new media, it is important that journalists get themselves well acquainted with the new trend in technology.”