Stop impunity! CJ Maraga tells suspects wearing hoodies in court


KRA staffers arraigned in court on Monday May 13, 2019. PHOTO| COURTESY
KRA staffers arraigned in court on Monday May 13, 2019. PHOTO| COURTESY

In Summary

  • In the Friday memo, CJ Maraga noted that right to privacy of suspects is respected but hiding one's face in court hampers the due process of administration of justice.
  • According to him, a suspect who wears hoodies and sunglasses is not easily identifiable in court and cannot be physically connected to the charge especially when taking plea.
  • He further noted that Muslims are allowed to wear hijabs or burqas according to their religion but always comply with the law and have never sought to conceal their identities.

Chief Justice David Maraga has lashed out at judges for allowing suspects to wear hoodies and sunglasses in court to cover their faces.

In a strong-worded memo on Friday to all judges, magistrates and Kadhis, CJ Maraga noted that suspects have recently made it a trend to make themselves unidentifiable in court.

“While exercising you individual and independent control of your courts, you must ensure that you are not seen to perpetuating impunity by allowing egregious behaviour by the suspects, particularly when such behaviour can bring disrepute to the court,” he said.

This come a day after Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, a lawyer by profession, questioned why suspects in the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) tax evasion case appeared in court wearing hoodies and sunglasses.

“How can a court allow this? When their names were called out, how did the magistrate confirm it was the accused?” the Senator posed on Twitter.

A section of Kenyans online had also queried the camouflaged appearance of the KRA suspects.

Dear CJ @dkmaraga why do we allow this in our courtrooms?” Mac Otani asked.

In the Friday memo, CJ Maraga noted that right to privacy of suspects is respected but hiding one’s face in court hampers the due process of administration of justice.

According to him, a suspect who wears hoodies and sunglasses is not easily identifiable in court and cannot be physically connected to the charge especially when taking plea.

He further noted that Muslims are allowed to wear hijabs or burqas according to their religion but always comply with the law and have never sought to conceal their identities.

38 KRA officers were on Monday arraigned in court after they were arrested on allegations of abetting tax evasion and bribery.

They went through the court proceedings with their faces hidden behind sunglasses and under hoodies.

Their case will be mentioned on May 27, 2019 to confirm progress of the investigations.

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