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Judiciary initiates framework to expedite children matters in court 

The Judiciary in Nyamira County have initiated a framework to expedite court matters where children are involved in a bid to ensure their timely justice.

Nyamira Law Courts Resident Magistrate Benaya Okong’o confirmed to press that the County judiciary has proposed to set aside specific days in a week when their courts will be dispensing children matters only to ensure that justice is served to the children promptly.

“Children are a special lot of clients at the Judiciary, and the law directs us to deal with them differently when handling their matters so that they get fair, just and timely conclusion of their matters in court to continue with education,” said Magistrate Onkong’o.

“We have further resolved to have a children’s Court Users Committee which will exclusively be dealing with children cases, children awareness matters and fast racking of pending children matters in court to ensure we reduce the backlog of pending matters involving children,” Okong’o stated.

The officer explained that in Court children can either be the complainants or in conflict with the law.

They can be involved in assault, sexual offences and few are even involved in capital offences like murder amongst other criminal activities which compel police to arrest them, he added.

We always try our level best to ensure such children are placed under a protection unit since they are in need of care and protection, he explained.

We also have legal representation in court to guide them during the entire period of the hearing of their case until it is determined, he noted.

“We always involve the children department and advice the prosecution to embrace the diversion process where the court process is diverted and children are given a chance to recollect, be remorseful and be given another chance to change their behavior for their moral growth,” Okong’o said.

He confirmed to press that when the judiciary had the children service month in November, Nyamira law courts managed to dispense, resolve, and expedite most of them and referred some  in a bid to clear a backlog of pending cases.

However, Okong’o said that they have been faced with challenges of disappearing witnesses in the course of trial, particularly prosecution witnesses or failing to attend court proceedings as the case is ongoing.

“The challenge of failure of witnesses to appear before court hinders our justice dispensation because we lack substantive evidence to determine a case at hand, he said.

Some complainants disappear without trace which leaves a matter pending for a long time and makes adjudication of such matters impossible, he noted.

He appealed for cooperation when a matter involving children is brought before a court of law so that it is done quickly and dispensed as immediately as is possible to make service delivery at the Judiciary efficient and commendable.

By Deborah Bochere

 

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