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  >  Pro Bono Scheme   >  Malawi Law Society to Assist Murder Suspects on Remand at Chichiri Prison

Malawi Law Society to Assist Murder Suspects on Remand at Chichiri Prison

The Malawi Law Society (“MLS”) in collaboration with the Legal Aid Bureau (“LAB”) is expected to assist murder suspects who are incarcerated at Blantyre Prison (also known as Chichiri Prison) with bail applications. The Officer in Charge for the Prison, Assistant Commissioner of Prisons Levi Maharawipha disclosed in a meeting with the MLS Chief Executive Officer for the MLS, that the prison has over 150 inmates who are on remand and are waiting for trial.  He disclosed that most of the suspects have been on remand beyond the maximum time limit of ninety days under section 161G of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code.

The MLS will utilise section 42 of the Legal Education and Legal Practitioners Act that requires every legal practitioner who is not working in public service to perform at least 24 hours of work in a year on a pro bono basis. Through this initiative, the MLS will identify and assign legal practitioners to suspects who are in custody. The legal practitioners will in turn make arrangements to record statements of the suspects, prepare and file applications for bail pending trial in the High Court and argue the applications before Judges. Where a suspect has been granted bail and the court has imposed conditions for the bail, such as the production of a surety or the payment of a cash bond, the responsible legal practitioner, with the support of the prison authorities, will be taking the initiative to locate the relatives of the suspect so that the bail conditions are met and the suspect is released from custody. It is expected that this exercise will help to decongest the prison.

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