Magistrate reprimands traffic officers for keeping offenders in cells for too long

[File] Traffic Police officers on crackdown operation on unroadworthy vehicles along Muranga-Thika Road on Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018. [Jonah Onyango/ Standard]
Principal Magistrate Joe Omido on Monday read the riot act to traffic police officers for detaining traffic offenders for long hours in the cells before taking them to court.

 The magistrate said that offenders were "left to the mercy of the Almighty" as police and prosecutors took their sweet time to charge them.

He noted that police and the prosecution had developed a bad habit of confining the offenders in court cells for hours for reasons "best known to them (officer)."

The magistrate was irked that some offenders had been arrested at 8 am and were brought to court at noon.

“This is not the first time traffic offenders are made to wait for long hours without being arraigned. This bad habit by the traffic department of police must be discouraged. The prosecution needs to liaise with police on how to operate when presenting traffic offenders,” said the principal magistrate.

Consequently, Mr. Omido set free 52 passengers who were brought to court and charged with failing to wear safety belts.

“I will release all of you on the condition that next time when you travel make sure you put on your safety belts. Putting on seat belts should not be viewed as a punishment rather a mandatory element that helps in saving lives,” said the magistrate.

He warned the prosecution against laxity in handling traffic cases, saying that offenders should be presented to court speedily to allow them to go to work or run errands.

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Traffic Police officerscrackdownPrincipal Magistrate