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Judge: Inmates unfairly jailed due to ignorance

By James Omoro | February 18th 2016
From left, Homa Bay Prison Officer in charge Jonas Gotondo, Homa Bay Judge David Majanja and Homa Bay Chief Magistrate Patricia Gichohi interact with inmates at Homa Bay Prison yesterday.

Lack of legal knowledge is the main obstacle deterring inmates from filing appeals against court judgments to acquire justice.

Homa Bay High Court Judge David Majanja said many inmates suffer from injustice due to ignorance on how to challenge decisions made by courts.

Speaking when he officially opened a paralegal training that was convened by the International Commission of Jurists for Homa Bay prison inmates, Justice Majanja said many convicts take longer than expected to file their applications due to lack of know-how.

"Lack of knowledge on basic legal affairs has made many convicts, who deserve appeals, suffer in prisons because they do not know where to start from. I believe this training is going to offer inmates the ability to understand legalities," Majanja said.

He said the Judiciary is currently undergoing a transformation aimed at according every accused person the opportunity for a hearing.

Officer in charge of Homa Bay Prison Jonas Gotondo, said his investigations had revealed that many prisoners suffer jail terms mainly because of fear.

He said the fear causes remanded prisoners plead guilty to offences in cases they could win easily.

"There are people who might be innocent but due to a language barrier and the fear of being remanded for long, they simply say 'yes afande' to admit charges," Mr Gotondo said.

Homa Bay Chief Magistrate Patricia Gichohi said the State would hire lawyers for murder and robbery suspects as well as children.

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