As part of ongoing efforts to spruce up Judiciary housing across the country, Chief Justice David Maraga inspected the construction of the Siaya High Court where he saw what he described as “the best holding cells for suspects I have ever seen”.
The cells which provide functional sitting space for the suspects and a comfortable ablution unit, are part of the ultra-modern facilities in the Sh340 million unit. It is expected to be completed by end of October this year.
The building will hold eight courtrooms and nine chambers, among other facilities. It will provide space and offices for other partners in the justice chain such as prisons, probation, the Attorney-General, Director of Public Prosecutions, the Law Society of Kenya and the Children’s Department.
The CJ said it was important to take cognizance of the rights of those held in cells since “they are innocent until proven guilty. In any case, even when they are found guilty, they still have the right to be treated as human beings."
The building will have its own borehole to address the persistent shortage of water and a standby generator.On Monday, the Chief Justice laid the foundation stone for the Kakamega High Court building, which came hot in the heels of two other project launches - the Kwale and Voi High Court buildings.
The three projects have a total construction value of more than Sh1.2 billion. More than 100 courts are currently under construction and rehabilitation throughout the country.
The Siaya High Court covers the Bondo and Ukwala Magistrates Courts as well.
After the inspection the CJ met with Siaya Court Users Committee (CUC) which comprises of stakeholders in the justice chain.
“Gone are the days when Judiciary was aloof. Today we work closely with stakeholders,” he said on Tuesday, adding that “not all cases have to come to court. We want elders of integrity to help resolve these issues, with the exclusion of criminal matters.”
Siaya Deputy Governor Dr James Okumbe, who attended the CUC meeting asked the Judiciary to introduce mobile courts in Rarieda and Gem constituencies which are the two Sub-counties in Siaya without courts