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JUDICIAL officers are entitled to take stern action to protect suspects detained by the police beyond the statutory 48 hours without justification, an official has said.

Deputy Attorney General responsible for legal aise, Mr Kumbirai Hodzi said prosecutors and magistrates could even refuse to place a person on further remand if the police unjustifiably detained an accused person beyond the 48 hour threshold.

Mr Hodzi said this while giving oral evidence before a Senate Thematic Committee on Human Rights in Parliament yesterday.

Senator representing disabled persons Nyamayabo Mushavakure had asked what remedy was there for suspects detained in police cells for more than 48 hours without being taken to court.

“The 48 hour deadline, once it is exceeded there are provisions for judicial officers to raise it and for prosecutors to query it,” he said.

“In some cases, where there is no justification the prosecutor can take drastic action like he can refuse to have the person further detained.

“If he is going to be remanded they would want proper explanations why that was done. The reasoning behind that is very clear.

“We want to ensure that there is no further breaches of fundamental rights. A judicial officer also in some cases can refuse to place them on remand.”

Senators wanted to know what the State was doing to assist children with mothers who would have been arrested and had to be incarcerated.

Mr Hodzi said they were engaging the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services on how best to assist the infants. Committee chairperson, Senator Patrick Chitaka (MDC-T) asked if the National Prosecuting Authority was not prosecuting people using outdated laws since most of the legal statutes had not been aligned to the new Constitution. Mr Hodzi said they had since categorised the laws in terms of importance and what remained was to take them to Parliament.

Source : The Herald