Legal representation makes it harder to convict a ‘big thief’ over a chicken thief: Justice Mabeya
High Court Judge Alfred Mabeya has termed the ability to get legal representation as a major factor in the speed with which cases are cleared in courts.
“It is all about the procedures,” said Mabeya, “a chicken thief will not have a legal representation. He will come and once he is told about stealing and slaughtering a neighbor's chicken, he admits.”
Speaking on Wednesday when he appeared on Citizen TV’s Day Break show, Justice Mabeya said high profile cases, on the other hand, take a lot of time because the court has to follow all procedures initiated by the defendant's lawyers.
“Somebody who has stolen from the government has all the ability of lawyers. The lawyers will take the court through all the motions; the right to representation, the right to hearing, Article 50... and while we sit there, one thing we must do is to make sure that you do not prejudice someone’s rights,” said Mabeya, who is the Presiding judge in the Commercial and Tax Division at the High Court.
“You have to listen to him and make sure the law is followed up to the last bit. In the event the so-called big thief has lawyers who are able to poke holes on the case of the DPP, who am I to convict the person?” added Mabeya.
However, the High Court judge expressed concerns over what he said was an incapacity of the judiciary to handle the disputes presented before the courts because of low personnel.
“In the advanced world, you will have a judge handling one case for one week, this morning the cases that I have to deal with are about 20, within the few 6 hours. It is not possible,” he stated.
He called for an equipment of the judiciary with more judges, magistrates and courtrooms to enable it clear its backlog.