Office of the Director of Public Prosecution is on spot over old cases which are still pending due to non-availability of witnesses.
Nyamira High Court Resident Judge Esther Maina issued a stern warning against the Public Prosecutor after learning that some murder cases are being handled less seriously than it was the standard requirement of court processes.
Maina raised the concerns after Prosecutor Emma Okok told the Court that witnesses in a murder case which was started in 2010 were yet to be arraigned in court, eight years later.
The referred case is of three women who were being accused of killing another who reportedly refused to buy them ‘chang’aa’.
The three, Joyce Kemuma Mochere, Eunice Mokeira Otete and Stella Moraa had been charged that on November 6, 2010 at Rigena Sub location in Masaba North, Nyamira County murdered Maria Bisieri Opondo after she refused to buy them chang’aa.
Ms Okok had pleaded with the Court for more time to arraign the witnesses once she reaches them, but the stunned judge overruled the application saying the court will not grant it owing to the fact that Judiciary was under pressure to dispose of old cases.
“The court presumes the accused persons innocent until they are proven guilty and it is unfortunate that the prosecution is not taking this very old case seriously. We shall therefore allow the prosecution only one day to round up their witnesses, including expert witnesses for further hearing of this case on October 3,” the court ruled.
The court also made similar observations in a case of 2011 which she also said needed to be determined by December this year.
“We are not in the old days where we could take 40 years to prosecute somebody. I have instructions not to carry the pending cases to next year. We are not afraid of dismissing a case if witnesses are not availed,” Judge Maina ruled.