The question of what constitutes the appropriate period of pre-trial detention has exercised lawyers and legal thinkers down the generations. When I was a solicitor in Scotland the maximum period for which you could be held on remand was forty days on summary complaint and one hundred and ten days on petition (indictment). These periods, I believe, have since been extended as in truth it is a question of judgement to be made according to what any system can accommodate.
I had only ever thought of this question in the context of the criminal law, until yesterday that is.
Yesterday ACUDA (Aku Community Development Association) brought Idrisa Nani to see Caroline. Idrisa was arrested and held in custody for six months not on a criminal charge but in relation to a civil dispute concerning the ownership of a number of cows. He subsequently won the case. The other party appealed and the appeal was refused. This all started in 2003 and despite having judgements in his favour he still has not had his property returned.
There is a suggestion that there may have been a further appeal to the Supreme Court but no one is sure. Papers seem to have “disappeared”.
Justice delayed is justice denied has never been truer. Here justice of any sort seems like a distant dream.