NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21- Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on Friday launched the bail and bond policy guidelines that are set to remove the inconsistencies in issuing of bond and bail to suspects of crime in the country.
Mutunga said the country has 20,544 people remanded in Kenya prisons and a total of 53, 789 inmates, which is beyond the capacity of the correctional facilities.
“These numbers should give all of us pause. Prisons in Kenya are holding 53,789 inmates, which is twice the number they were built to accommodate. Such is the nature of prison, unfortunately, that the authorities can never turn away those sent to them by the courts,” he lamented.
“It has been famously remarked that prisons are not hotels or holiday camps. Even the most humane institutions of incarceration – and ours are improving – basically exist to restrict liberty, and their use must be a last resort.”
He said issuing of bail and bond is meant to protect the right of victims of crime and not to help them evade justice.
“Our courts have not always been consistent in administering bail and bond, giving rise to numerous complaints. The Office of the Judiciary Ombudsperson has received many complaints about exorbitant, unjustifiable and unaffordable bail conditions,” he stated.
“On the flipside, there are many criminal elements, who abscond court summons in traffic and other petty cases, or have presented fake title deeds and logbooks as security, thus frustrating an important opportunity for upholding the right to liberty forcing courts to adopt increasingly stern measures to prevent fraud.”
He noted that where bail or bond is granted, either by police or judicial officers, suspects and accused persons shall be placed under the supervision of probation and aftercare officials, police and local administrators such as chiefs.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet in a speech read by the Director of the Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro welcomed the guidelines saying they will assist judges more so when dealing with terror suspects.
He noted that terror threat in the country remains real saying the bond and bail policy guidelines will ensure terror suspects are not granted bond without due consideration of the danger they pose to peace and tranquility of the county.
“From the National Police Service perspective, we fully acknowledge and uphold the provision of Article 49(1) on the right of accused persons to be granted bail. This we do by ensuring that misdemeanor offenders are not kept in our custody unnecessarily before they appear,” he said.
“We do however face challenges when serious offenders are released on bond whose terms sometimes are not respected. At other instances we have had the accused being injured by members of the public upon their release due to the perception that the commensurate punishment is not being meted.”
Other people who welcomed the guideline include the Attorney General Githu Muigai and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko.