Lawyers to Maraga: Work on weekends
Law Society of Kenya wants Chief Justice to allow courts to hear graft cases on weekends and holidays
The Law Society of Kenya wants Chief Justice David Maraga compelled to create special courts that will sit during the weekends and public holidays.
In a case filed under a certificate of urgency, LSK said the special plea courts would prevent the detention of suspects beyond the 24 hours provided by the Constitution.
The society said there is a worrying trend of effecting arrests for non-cognisable offences, conveniently so, on Friday afternoon.
According to the petition, the trend that is colloquially known as “kamata kamata,” is carried out when plea-taking within the 24-hour time-frame is impossible, thus holding suspects while denying them bail or bond.
The society wants the Chief Justice to create the special plea courts to operate on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays for instances of arrests falling past the official court working hours and days.
It also wants Mr Maraga to make available judges and magistrates in every court station throughout the country on weekends, public holidays and after court working hours.
This, the petition goes on, would deal with urgent matters of human rights protection.
Through its lawyer Borniface Akhusala, LSK said the trend of treating suspects like convicts "and suffocating their constitutional rights", is worrying.
The society also wants police stopped from arbitrarily arresting people suspected of committing non-cognisable offences in instances where summons can be made.
Lawyers want the court to issue an order prohibiting police from apprehending those suspected of committing a non-cognisable offence without arrest warrants and stopping the arrests before investigations are complete.
The orders sought include compelling police to release suspects on bail or bond unless there are compelling reasons which should be communicated immediately in writing.
The society accuses Director of Criminal Investigations chief George Kinoti, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and Inspector-general of Police Joseph Boinnet of undermining the Constitution "by permitting the prosecution of suspects through the court of public opinion, press statements and social media".
LSK said the Friday afternoon arrests make suspects remain in cells before the conclusion of investigations and prosecuting the said persons without sufficient evidence.
This, LSK chief executive Mercy Wambua said in a sworn affidavit, undermines the essence of the presumption of innocence and the right to an expedient and procedurally fair process.
Law Society of Kenya chief executiveMercy Wambua addresses journalists outside the Directorate of Criminal Investigations offices in Nairobi on December28. Ms Wambua told a court on Friday that detaining suspects beyond 24 hours undermines the right to expedient and fair trial.