KENYA: COURTS IMPLEMENT NEW BAIL AND BOND GUIDELINES

In a recent year-long pilot program, it emerges that the Judiciary has administered over 500 bail and bond terms to accused persons in one of its court stations under new guidelines unveiled in 2015 to guide the application of bail and bond in police and courts.

The pilot program was rolled out in a number of court stations.

It also appears that traffic cases account for the highest number of matters at the three courts where accused persons jumped bail- Kilgoris, Bomet and Kilifi. Overall, most cash bails at the courts were administered in traffic, assault, stealing and alcoholic drinks-related cases.

Constituted in July 2015 to oversee the implementation of the Bail and Bond Policy Guidelines, the BBIC- Bail and Bond Implementation Committee, chaired by High Court Criminal Division Presiding Judge Jessie Lesiit, states the courts are hearing all pending cases but have issued warrants of arrest in matters where the accused have jumped bail and summons to sureties where those involved violated bond terms.

The Judiciary developed the Bail and Bond Policy Guidelines to give direction to the administration of bail and bond in courts and police stations and decongest prison facilities.

The committee explained that absconding court affects expeditious disposal of cases leading to delayed justice.

According to the new policy guidelines, bond terms may also involve the release of an accused on a personal bond (free bond) or deposit of a security including, logbook, title deed or share certificate. Further, the policy encourages use of Pay slips by those standing surety in appropriate cases. These measures complement the cash bail, normally asked by the courts.

The committee instituted measures to monitor status of the implementation of the policy in each court station with a view of establishing the number of accused persons who absconded bail/bond, among other issues.

This is to ensure the rights of suspects and accused persons to liberty and to be presumed innocent are balanced with the public interest, including protecting the rights of victims of crime.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK