Playing fast and loose with serious business
That all but clearly open-and-shut killing cases enter the records as murder mysteries has become a tiresome reflection on the ineffectiveness of the Police Service in finding culprits. Routine assurances that "investigations are continuing" notwithstanding, the public has come to expect arrests and prosecutions in only the smallest minority of murder cases, with obviously negative effects on deterrence.
To the dismal record of non-achievement in solving murders must be added the inglorious multiple escapes from custody of a murder accused, reported this week to have done it again…for the fourth time!
On this occasion, with both arms in casts—which meant he was not wearing handcuffs—the accused was able to overpower his police escort and escape outside the Siparia Police Station, jumping into a waiting car.
With the officers on duty looking more ridiculous than usual, the need to recover some professional self-respect should lead police top brass to apply disciplinary sanctions against such appalling examples of slackness.
And it is nothing less than that. For some, this may sound like the makings of a dramatic television series along the lines of The Fugitive, or maybe even a laugh-a-minute sketch, but this is deadly serious business as we are talking here about a man accused of murder.
As to whether he was aided in his bid for freedom, that will have to be determined, but there is no doubt that there were security lapses which allowed this serial escapee to once again dodge those escorting him to and from the Siparia Magistrates' Court.
That a man known for his tendency to escape custody to not be in handcuffs should have already been ringing alarm bells and, more than likely, those in charge will say that they could not spare more than one officer to escort him to court.
That is why the Police Service or the Prison Service should invest in leg irons and take proper measures to ensure this man does not once again make a fool of them.
With that in mind, why is an accused who is on a murder charge—and who has already escaped three times—being brought to court to answer a charge of marijuana possession and driving without a driver's permit and certificate of insurance?
The likely answer would be that justice has to take its course, but doesn't it now seem rather foolish that this man is taken to court for relatively minor matters, giving him yet another golden opportunity to once again escape the long arm of the law?
Police and prison officials should keep the big picture in mind—that someone has lost his life in cold blood and the man accused of that crime has been given a fourth chance to elude his captors and not have to answer to the accusation in court.
A thorough investigation must be conducted to get to the bottom of this rather embarrassing situation and those responsible must be punished accordingly, not given a mere slap on the wrists, but be made an example of so that this sort of thing never happens again.