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Security of judicial officers at stake

ELSEWHERE in this issue we carry a story of the brutal knife attack on an officer stationed at the Palace of Justice.
A former civil servant, who was said to have been unhappy with delays to process his pension, is said to have gone berserk and knifed a human resources officer.
Whatever the issues behind the attack we would like to believe that there can never be any justification for such brutal attack.
We find it completely unacceptable that an individual, no matter how aggrieved, could resort to such “Stone Age” tactics to get things done.
On another level, however, the attack confirms what we have always known and said before — that we are an angry society that is not at peace with itself.
We must find better ways to resolve our disputes.
Most importantly the attack which was conducted in full view of the public raises serious questions about issues of security at the Palace of Justice.
We are extremely worried that a man, armed with a dangerous weapon, could simply walk past the security gate and inflict harm on a civil servant.
What the attack shows is that no one, including High Court judges, is safe.
That is a frightening thought.
High Court judges deal with extremely sensitive matters every day.
It is obvious that because of the nature of their work they need round-the-clock protection.
The attack seems to suggest that there are very weak security systems at the moment.
The Ministry of Justice must immediately boost security at the Palace of Justice.
In fact we are of the opinion that the attack should serve as a wake-up call.
The near tragic event also suggests that whatever security arrangement that is in place at present is not working properly.
This is by the way the only government complex in Maseru that one can just walk in without anyone asking you where you are going.
The lax security system leaves a lot to be desired.
Intrusive as it might be this is probably an area, apart from the airport, where we need body scanners.
We are not even sure if there are any security cameras right at the entrance to monitor who goes into the court and for what business.
Such cameras, placed at strategic positions, could dissuade the few madmen among us who might pose a security threat to judicial officers.
Of course critics might argue that such electronic devices are too intrusive and will invade their private space.
But the alternative of failing to act is too ghastly to contemplate.
We certainly would not want to have one of our judges being gunned down by a madman whose relative he might have been sent to jail.
We are not being paranoid.
We are being realistic.
The security of our judges, and many other judicial officers, should be of paramount importance.

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