Lawyers to face stern action for neglecting remandees
Meru High Court Deputy Registrar Caroline Obara has announced a raft of stern measures to ensure lawyers appointed to represent remandees attend to them as required by law.
The Deputy Registrar was commenting on reports that cells in Meru GK prison are congested because lawyers appointed to represent suspects have absconded duty.
Sources indicate that the lawyers do not visit or appear in court to represent their clients.
Speaking at the Meru GK Prison on Friday, Ms. Obara warned that the State will not pay the lawyers in question and will compel them to sign a form to prove that they attend court sessions to represent their clients.
Meru Presiding Judge Justice Alfred Mabeya stressed that the Judiciary will throw out weak cases against remandees.
“It is a travesty of justice for suspects to be locked up without sufficient evidence to warrant their prosecution. The fact is that those who are supposed to be at the prison cells are those already convicted and serving their jail terms,” said Justice Mabeya.
Dennis Mutwiri a long serving inmate and a paralegal, said that majority of the remandees are unable to afford lawyers and as such one is provided for them by the State.
“Most of the remandees are unaware of their rights and if the lawyer appointed to represent them absconds duty then it means they will remain in jail and the cells will continue to be congested,” said Mr. Mutwiri.
He called on the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to conduct awareness forums to avoid such scenarios.
Acting DPP Dorcas Oduor said there was need for concerted efforts between government agencies to decongest prison cells by reviewing petty cases and making recommendations for acquittal or conviction.
She regretted the congestion at the Meru G.K. Prison noting that the facility is meant to serve 600 inmates but is currently hosting over 1000 inmates.
The Judicial officers and prosecutors were speaking during a tour at the facility.
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