Judiciary has unveiled plans to establish a traffic court at Mtito Andei town along Nairobi-Mombasa Highway as part of the process to handle the rising number of traffic offenses along the highway.
Chief Justice David Maraga said that judiciary was committed to quick dispensing of justice for all offenders noting that such initiatives were meant to decongest the normal courts.
Speaking in Voi town on Tuesday during the inspection of construction of Voi High Court, the Chief Justice noted that traffic offenders were usually charged at Voi or Makindu law courts. The distance to the two courts made access to justice for such offenders a challenge.
We plan to have a court at Mtito Andei to ensure cases of traffic offences between Voi and Makindu are handled there, he said.
Mr. Maraga, who is also the president of the Supreme Court, stated that administration and access to justice by ordinary people remained a top priority for judiciary.
He further expressed his concerns over the petty cases finding their way into courts and urged Court Users Committee (CUC) to support and promote alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
As part of the process to support mediation and arbitration process, the Judiciary will partner with CUCs across Kenya to train elders with integrity on how to resolve cases.
He said that succession cases would be easily handled at the village level by family members and neighbours. Should such efforts fail to yield results; the elders would arbitrate over such matters.
Courts should only be used as the last resort, noted the Chief Justice.
He said that Judicial Service Commission (JSC) would start a process to recruit more land and environment judges as part of a program to deal with many land cases across the country. The recruitment will be start once JSC engages the Treasury on the cost implications of such a move.
Maraga was accompanied by other senior judicial officers including the Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amandi, presiding Judge at Civil Division at Milimani Courts Justice Msagha Mbogholi, Voi High Court Judge Jackline Kamau, senior police officers and other courts users.
Mr. Maraga added that issues of integrity touching on judicial officers were very sensitive and would be dealt with firmly.
He stated that the judicial institution in the country was threatened should the public lose confidence in judicial officers or the services offered.
The CJ called upon judges and magistrate to exercise discretion while issuing verdicts with reason to avoid delivering judgments that would ‘raise eyebrows.’
He further noted that on matters of bail and fines, a magistrate should use his/her discretion to make prudent judgment on the offender and the type of offence.
It is wise to temper judgment with wisdom while considering issues including bail and sentences, he said.
He asked officials from the prison department to write to the Judiciary for a review of sentences for offenders serving their times and who were deemed to have been reformed before the expiry of their sentences.
Judges can review such sentences and commute sentences which will help in decongesting the prisons, he noted.
During the meeting with court users, the Chief Justice said Voi Court Users Committee had been allocated Sh440, 000 from a fund by National Council on Administration of Justice for its activities.
The Construction of the five-storey Voi High Court office block started last year in April and was expected to be completed by October 20th this year.
However, the CJ noted that the construction was slightly behind schedule due to challenges of financing and said the contractor might seek a slight extension,
The project, estimated to cost Sh347 million, is funded by World Bank.
Source: Kenya News Agency