Kenyan lawyers ask DPP for more prosecutors
Lawyers in Bungoma County have issued notice to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko to post additional prosecutors to the region.
They have warned that if Tobiko fails to deploy enough officers within a week, they will push for the dismissal of cases before Bungoma Law Courts in Sirisia and Kimilili.
Led by Bungoma Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Chapter John Makali, the advocates noted that the shortfall has hampered court operations and led to a backlog of cases.
“We have six magistrates’ courts and only three prosecutors. Cases cannot move with the shortage of such crucial officers,” he explained.
Makali stated that the matter is infringing on the rights of suspects and witnesses, and was also slowing down the administration of justice.
“We expect two additional magistrates to be deployed to Bungoma Law Courts and the rest to the other courts following the recent appointment. However, how will they clear the backlog without the prosecutors?” he posed.
He noted with concern that since the training and deployment of prosecuting officers by the police was stopped and transferred to the DPP’s office, courts are faced with a serious deficit. Makali said under the new Constitution, court prosecutors are no longer answerable to the police.
“We want officers posted to the affected stations. The problem is serious and needs to be urgently addressed,” he added.
While speaking to The Standard on phone, Makali noted that as a result of the shortage, the available prosecuting officers are forced to move from one court to the other.
“These officers are under pressure and overstretched, they have to serve all the magistrates and this is interfering with the court’s proceedings,” he said.
The LSK official said the issue was grounding their work and an injustice to the affected parties since every court had a right to have a prosecutor.
He further noted that witnesses are turned away as cases fail to kick off as scheduled.
“We want the DPP to act fast. This shortage is creating unnecessary backlog and wasting time for the parties involved,” he added.
By Roselyne Obala, The Standard
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