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Shortage of magistrates hits Homa Bay law courts

Court users in Homa Bay Sub County have decried shortage of magistrates that has led to backlog of cases.

The court currently has only two magistrates after the third one was transferred late 2018.
Former Principal Magistrate Susan Ndegwa was transferred to Githongo law courts in Meru County in December 2018 but her replacement has not reported thereby delaying court cases.
There are three court rooms in Homa Bay and the two magistrates have to alternate proceedings from one court room to the other.
A court official told journalists that the court in Homa Bay has written to the Judiciary about the situation.
The court official added that most cases that were being handled by the former Principal Magistrate were being moved to other dates.
This is after some accused persons requested for a fresh start of their cases.
“Normally, when a new magistrate gets into an ongoing case, the accused person is at liberty to request for a fresh start of his case. But in some instances, witnesses who were aligned to testify sometimes withdraw from the cases,” said the court official.
The official further said they have received numerous complaints about delay of cases.
“We are receiving letters from lawyers who want an explanation as to why their cases were not being concluded. The problem is that there are a few judiciary officers in the court whereas there are many cases to handle,” the officer said.
A lawyer, Mr. Humphrey Obach, said some of the cases they were handling and which were due for judgment have been postponed due to the absence of a magistrate.
“Some of our clients are on our necks on why the court cannot deliver judgment on time. However our hands are tied on this matter as we are not the ones giving the judgment,” he said.
Obach appealed to the judiciary to look into the matter and help people with cases at the Homa Bay law court get justice on time.
By Davis Langat

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