By: ERIC MATARA
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is on the spot over pending high-profile murder cases at the Nakuru High Court.
Nakuru Resident Judge Maureen Odero has expressed concern about delays in making decisions on some of the cases where investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have already been concluded.
In a letter to the DPP, Justice Odero said the delays by the prosecution were worsening the suffering of suspects in custody.
“Despite the availability of judges, the prosecution constantly fails to secure attendance of witnesses at murder trials leading to delays in conclusion of old cases,” reads the letter seen by the Nation.
In the letter, also copied to the Law Society of Kenya and the DCI’s office, the judge called on the DPP to streamline operations to produce witnesses and case files in court when needed.
“I call upon the relevant officers to up their game.
“The court will no longer grant adjournments where (the) prosecution fails to produce witnesses in court.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” she stated.
Among the cases whose hearing has been dragging in the courts after witnesses failed to turn up on several occasions is a murder case facing a Naivasha man nicknamed “Vampire”, who is accused of kidnapping women, whom he reportedly killed before sucking their blood.
The accused, who is charged with murder in the killing one of his victims, Ms Naomi Wairimu, pleaded not guilty to the charges five years ago but the case was adjourned several times before a hearing could start.
Other cases whose hearing has stalled commenced more than 10 years ago.
Justice Odero said litigants were losing faith thinking that lawyers were colluding with courts to delay the cases.
A senior prison officer told the Nation that remandees at the Nakuru GK Prison have also raised concerns about the issue saying their cases have taken too long to be determined.
“They are complaining that they will be forced to spend more time in prison waiting for the hearing and determination of their cases which are still pending at the law courts,” said the officer, who sought anonymity.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION