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Inmates accuse judges, magistrates of egoism

14 July 2015, 21:39 Joseph Njung'eh

Nyeri - Inmates at King’ong’o main prison in Nyeri on Tuesday accused judges and magistrates of egoism while handling criminal cases.

The inmates said some magistrates at Nyeri law courts favour complainants and fail to listen to suspects during hearing or when taking plea.

Speaking during a Court Users Committee meeting at the prison facility, the inmates lamented that the Judiciary was denying them right to be released on bond.

“Sometimes you find a magistrate does not listen to you. He just closes your file and assumes that you won't talk and thus end up staying in custody,” said an inmate, Joseph Ng’ang’a.

Ng’ang’a, who was speaking on behalf of remandees, complained that the local law courts were not releasing suspects on considerable or affordable bond terms.

“Hundreds of suspects remain in custody because the bond terms given are hard to fulfill. Again there is a case that has been here for seven years just because of lack of an interpreter,” said Ng’ang’a.

Read Also: Judiciary taken to task over 'Mombasa knife gangs'

He told the committee led by Resident Judge Justice Jairus Ngaah that the prosecution was denying suspects access to charge sheets and witness statements in preparation for defence hearing.

His sentiments were echoed by Kelvin Andika who spoke on behalf of convicts.

Andika said convicts’ appeals were taking more than three years to be heard, and asked the judge to ensure they get access to copies of judgments.

“Convicts are always given 14 days to appeal a hearing while the same appeal takes years to be heard. Some are attended in a rush and end up being dismissed,” said Andika.

He asked the committee to find out why most convicts at the facility were offenders of sex related offences.

While responding to the complaints, Nyeri Chief Magistrate John Oyiengo promised to address the issues raised regarding the magistrates.

In his part, Resident Judge Jairus Ngaah said hearing of cases at the High Court will be expeditious since two more judges have been deployed in the law courts.

“Getting a bond is a right and you should fight for it. If the bond is too high make a review of application and state that you cannot afford it. We shall listen to you and address your grievances. We also want you to be out there and engage in nation building activities,” said Ngaah.

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- MyNews24

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