CJ raises concern over rising defilement cases

Written By: Margaret Kalekye
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Chief Justice David Maraga has asked religious leaders and village elders to help mentor young people in order to curb the spiraling cases of defilement that are leading to many of them ending up in jail.

He said the many prisons he had toured around the country, the number of young people serving term for defilement or awaiting trial were far too many, pointing at a serious problem that society must address.

Speaking in Nyamira Friday during the official opening of the new law courts building, Justice Maraga said an inordinately high number of cases heard at the station – 86 per cent – were criminal matters, with only 14 per cent being civil matters. The criminal matters revolve around violence emanating from land disputes and defilement.

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“We are actively encouraging disagreeing parties to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms as much as possible instead of taking the law into their hands or always resorting to the courts. ADR works well because the parties talk things over, guided by people who know the issues at hand better than our courts, and seek a solution that is mutually acceptable,” he said.

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Local leaders requested the Chief Justice to deploy an Environment and Land Court (ELC) judge in Nyamira to deal with the large number of land matters, to which he agreed and said he will post one from the recently-recruited ELC judges to the station.

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He said mediation will also be entrenched at the Nyamira law courts to help deal with succession matters expeditiously.

He commended the World Bank for their support in constructing the new court through the Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP).

Like all the new courts being built, the Nyamira facility provides a room for lactating mothers, therefore complying with the Health Act 2017, Section 71 which requires facilities such as these to have stations where lactating mothers can feed their babies. The Judiciary has incorporated lactation facilities in 29 stations so far.

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The Chairman Law Society of Kenya’s Nyamira County branch, Mr Momanyi Ounga, urged the Judiciary to put up a court in Manga and Nyasiongo, and  a Court of Appeal circuit in Kisii.

The CJ said the Judiciary uses statistics to determine where to prioritise construction of new courts. He set up a team to evaluate whether Manga and other suggested locations deserved a court station.

Governor John Nyagarama thanked the Judiciary for taking justice closer to the people saying that increasing the number of courts will translate to justice for all.

The Presiding Judge of Nyamira High Court, Justice Esther Maina, urged members of the public to embrace mediation while the Nyamira County Commissioner, Mr Amos Mariba, said the new court will reduce the distance covered while transporting prisoners.

 

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