COVID-19: Why audio-visual hearings in courts may be difficult—Erokoro


A lawyer, Paul Erokoro, SAN, has declared that the use of Audio-Visual Technology in courts may be difficult to achieve as the country battles the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Erokoro stated this in interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday, in  in Abuja.

However, the senior lawyer supported the idea, he expressed doubt if the technology could be adopted in all courts in the country.

”The idea is a very good one. We have been using it in international arbitration and the law must allow modern technology to come into its efficiency.

”So I am very much in support of it.

”However, this is a country where our judges still write with long hand.

”There are so many courts that are equipped, like the Federal High Courts, with automatic recording machines but only a few judges use them,” he said.

Erokoro said lawyers, judges and court staff needed to be trained, if the system must be effective, especially at this period of the COVID-19 outbreak.

He added that government must also be prepared to back this up with a lot of money since power supply was not guaranteed.

”Will the government be willing to put the kind of generators that will make sure that there is power throughout the court sitting?

”Again, how do you handle the issues of real evidence?

”For instance, a man is accused of killing somebody with a knife or a gun.
”How will you tender the knife or the gun online?

”What about the criminal matters? What about the defendants? The defendant has to be in court and how are you going to ensure that he is in court online? So there are practical problems,” he said.

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The lawyer, was however confident that with commitment, the country could overcome the challenges.

”All over the world, they are grappling with the Coronavirus now and Nigeria should not be left behind.

”We should start, if we encounter difficulties, we correct them.

”For instance, online hearing can take place at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court right now.

”The infrastructure and the facilities required for that will not be as difficult, as they will be for a trial in the High Courts.

”Government must back the measure up with serious budgetary allocation otherwise it will not work,” Erokoro concluded.



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