Specialized courts not allowed to handle criminal cases: Supreme Court

A seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice David Maraga have upheld that Specialized Courts like Lands and Environmental and the Labor Relation Courts lack jurisdiction to hear and determine criminal cases.

The bench ruled that the Chief Justice lack jurisdiction in appointing and allocating Judges to various departments.

They maintained that the Chief Justice is only mandated to empanel judges to hear matters within their jurisdiction and not different jurisdiction.

The Judges further faulted the decision by former Chief Justice, Dr Willy Mutunga, that appointed specialized judges to hear and determine criminal appeal at the Malindi Law Courts.

The judges in their ruling also faulted the state for having not provided the criminal case suspects with attorneys and instead went for full hearing of the appeal at the High Court by themselves.

The bench reiterated that accused persons are entitled to legal representation constitutionally.

In the judgment written by seven judges, though read by Justice Isaac Lenaola, directed that the criminal appeal be returned to the High Court for fresh hearing and determination by the right panel of judges.

In the matter three criminal case suspects found guilty in Malindi Law Courts of various offences appealed at the High Court to have their conviction reviewed.

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