Court officials decry lack of State Counsels

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 00:00 |
Health officer Dominic Ochieng fumigates Homa Bay Law Court premises. Cases have dragged due to lack of counsel. Photo/PD/file

Officials at the Homa Bay court have expressed concern over the shortage of State counsels in the country saying it has led to delays in the delivery of justice.

Homa Bay Law Court and the High Court are served by two State counsel  who have to be present in multiple cases in five court rooms each day.

Consequently, access to justice by the residents is delayed as one court has to wait for the prosecutors to conclude matters in one court before proceeding to another courtroom.

Homa Bay Senior Principal Magistrate Thomas Obutu said the problem has been on for the past one year following the transfer of three State counsels to Eldoret and Mombasa.

A shortage of prosecutors has since then delayed on how cases are handled by the judiciary.

It has also caused a backlog of cases at the court that residents have to wait the whole day for their matters to be mentioned or heard.

Some of the affected cases are children matters which should be concluded within a specified period of time.

Homa Bay has recorded several cases of sexual offence against children. Throughout the year, victims of defilement and their parents have been waiting for justice in vain.

Obutu said because of the long wait some witnesses have given up and are contemplating on withdrawal.

“The worst has been when a child gave birth after being defiled and was thinking about withdrawing as a witness,” Obutu added.

Remandees at the Homa Bay GK Prison are also affected by failure by the ODPP to deploy staff to the county.

Most of them who have their cases in court normally have their matters mentioned.

For a criminal case to proceed in court, there must be a state council and a magistrate before they are taken back to prison. The situation has caused congestion in prison.

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