Lack of required skill and efficiency of investigating officers and prosecution blamed
Although Bangladesh is witnessing a rising trend of cybercrimes, most of the accused are being discharged or getting acquittal in the cases related to the crimes thanks to the inept role of the prosecution and the police.
Legal experts said settlement outside the court, lack of skill of prosecution lawyers, and inability of the law enforcers in handling such cases, pave the way for the criminals to evade punishment.
According to Cyber Tribunal (Bangladesh) in Dhaka, a total of 259 cases were disposed of in the last eight years since its inception in 2013.
Among those, the accused were discharged in 124 cases and acquitted in 114 lawsuits as the prosecution failed to prove the charges against them.
The country's lone Cyber Tribunal could punish the accused only in 21 cases -- 20 of those were filed under Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act and one in Digital Security Act (DSA).
The tribunal saw an increasing number of cases since its beginning till 2019.
Although only three cases were filed in 2013, the number surged gradually in the following years with 33 lawsuits in 2014, 152 in 2015, 233 in 2016, 568 in 2017, 676 in 2018, and 721 in 2019.
As many as 622 cases were filed till December 15 in 2020.
Most of the cases were filed on charges of uploading indecent pictures of women on Facebook and other platforms of the internet, hurting people's religious sentiments, offensive remarks about noted people, and various kinds of online cheating with people.
A total of 2,094 cases are now under trial with the tribunal and the trial proceedings in 32 cases have been kept stay following the High Court orders.
Legal experts said digital or online crimes are causing havoc in the society gradually with various negative impacts on families and youths particularly.
They said most of the cybercriminals go unpunished as the investigating officers (IOs) and the prosecution cannot establish the charges against the accused due to lack of required skill, training, and efficiency in handling such cases, and sometimes due to negligence as well.
Refuting the allegation of negligence, Nazrul Islam Shamim, the special public prosecutor of Cyber Tribunal, said the conviction rate was very poor as the plaintiffs settled disputes outside the court while the IOs submitted faulty probe reports due to lack of experiences.
"Now the Criminal Investigation Department [CID], the Police Bureau of Investigation [PBI], and the cyber crime unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police [DMP] are giving training to the IOs."
The special public prosecutor hoped that the conviction rate would increase in the coming days.