The Ogun State Judiciary on Wednesday began virtual proceedings to accelerate justice dispensation in the State. The virtual proceedings relied on a point to point radio connection between Ibara Custodial Centre and the High Court, the first of its kind for judicial proceedings in the country. A point to point radio connection affords higher quality video connections between two locations than what typically obtains with mobile service enabled internet. Members of the public connected via the internet.
The innovation was kick-started by the Governor of the State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR, whose uncommon foresight enabled the deployment of the technology at the High Court of the State to reaffirm the status of the State as a preferred destination for investors and investments.
The State Attorney-General, Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran, while speaking after the virtual sitting at the High Court 1 presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Honourable Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, stated that the reform became necessary to speed up the judicial process as regards different cases before it in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that the judicial process had been stalled due to the spread of coronavirus, hence the need for the launching of virtual proceedings to ensure that judicial matters can be handled partly online and partly physically in the courtroom.
The Attorney-General also added that the judicial process in the country had to move towards a more electronic case management system, including electronic proceedings. He added that judicial staff will be trained on the new development for an effective and efficient system.
He said, “Today, Ogun State Judiciary tested and ensured that the State can host proceedings partly online and partly physically in the courtroom and this is to enable us to return to business because even though the coronavirus may be here with us for some time, it cannot put an end to judicial proceedings because justice must always be available.
“Now, today, what we did was proof of concept to show that it can work and indeed it worked. It still has to be expanded to cover all phases of proceedings because as you can see to do a trial is a different thing. All the cases today were for mention but when it’s a full-blown trial, we also need to make sure that technology is available to support it.”
In his own submission, the Director of Public Prosecution, Olusegun Olaotan, commended the State Government for introducing technology into the criminal justice system in the state.
“You know nothing is static in life. The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the ingenuity in us to look for a way out so we don’t keep criminals in detention perpetually. Nobody knows when this thing is going to leave us and does it mean as long as it is with us, we keep them there? So, this is an avenue for us to begin to work on their cases even though we are having the lockdown.
“So, everybody in the state should be happy that we have this technology with us now. And it is not only for now because even after the lockdown, it is also a way for us to go. We have to make progress,” he added.