Drug trafficking: Some tips to the ministerial committee

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I really don’t understand our struggle against drug trafficking! The report is out since many weeks now but swift administrative actions are yet to be seen. Is the willingness only oral and cosmetic? Or do we need another Committee to look into it! Suggestions which are vital:

Telephone billings

It is stupendous to see how inquiries are unnecessarily delayed because of the time taken by telephone service providers to furnish to the police the telephone billings. It takes an average of 9 months before telephone billings are received. By the click of the mouse, one can have elephantine information. Why dillydally? Unless the motive is to help drug traffickers. What can be done: (a) police must have at their disposal two attorneys whether from the State Law Office or otherwise who will have the responsibilities to draft affidavits within hours after the arrest of accused parties requesting the details about the telephone billings; (b) the Attorney General must liaise with the office of the Chief Justice so that a Puisne Judge is free everyday including Saturday and Sunday for application to be processed as quickly as possible. Once the order is received, the telephone service providers must within three hours communicate the details to the police; (c)Is it difficult to do? No! But telephone service providers are happier to milk money from customers than to help fight drug traffic- king. A meeting chaired by the PM with all service providers will surely surmount all obstacles unless we want ghosts of bureaucracy to pin us down.

Fingerprint and palmprint machines

Do you know how long it takes to take a proper fingerprint/palm print from an accused party? Many minutes and often the exercise must be repeated because of many mis-manipulations of fingers or palms. The use of the old system of ink, pad and roller is very tedious. (...) It seems we all have forgotten the scores of hi-tech fingerprint machines which were used to collect data for the new ID cards. Tax payers money was used to finance the purchase of same. Where are they rotting? (...) These electronic finger printing machines could be transferred to the police to great effect. Will it be done?

Recording of statements by police in prison

Do you know that statements are not recorded after 15.00 on weekdays and no statements are allowed to be recorded on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Yes Mauritius 2018! In the majority of criminal cases, statements are recorded before counsel as per the Constitution. And we all know that counsels are taken up before courts on weekdays. ADSU and CID officers are also a regular feature of our courts structure. So there is not much leeway for recording of statements. Prison authorities must do the needful for recording of statements on any day up to 8 pm. Is it difficult? Or are we looking for cheap administrative convenience excuses to help the true traffickers?

Plea Bargaining

Even though we set up a Drug court we will soon be overflooded with drug cases unless we have the cojones to steer another strategy and depenalisation must be one of the main prongs. One of the avenues to save time is to introduce plea bargaining. Plea bargaining exists de facto and one can see its operation at the Assises court where defendant’s elects to plead guilty to manslaughter rather than facing a charge of murder. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, plea bargaining is any agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty or nolo contendere to a particular charge in relation for some concession from the prosecutor. Plea bargaining will save tremendous amount of time. Will we muster the courage to change the law or wait for havoc to have its day before we act? Will the sleepy consider my tips? Will they treat me like a kibitzer? Will my tips put the kibosh on their murky plans…?

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