Article 48 of the Constitution of Kenya specifically advocates for access to justice for all. Kituo Cha Sheria has established Prison Justice Centres that are managed and run by trained prison paralegals to assist them self-represent in court, offer legal advice to the other inmates, educating them on criminal law and guiding them on how to confidently represent themselves in Court and empower the entire prison community. Kituo has played a big role in supervising these centres and providing technical assistance in legal matters that need the attention of an advocate. To date, Kituo has established Prison Justice Centres at Shimo La Tewa Men & Women Prisons, Lang’ata Women’s Prison, Kamiti Maximum Prison, Kodiaga, Nyeri Main (King’ong’o) G.K. Prison, Kakamega GK Prison and Meru GK Prison. As a result, inmates and Prison Officers have been able to offer legal aid services to inmates and from 2010 to date 10,000 + inmates have been released following interventions by trained paralegals. The Prison justice centers have significantly contributed to the decongestion of prisons and at the same time made justice accessible to those who could not afford the services of an advocate.
These are some Success Stories from the Kisumu Maximum Prison-Kodiaga Prison Justice Centre…
I. OFFENCE: HANDLING STOLEN PROPERTY: 56/2016
Samuel Kimtai Bor a resident of Kisumu was arrested in March 2016 and arraigned in Kisumu Law Courts where he was charged with handling stolen property. He stayed in remand for a period of seven and a half months awaiting hearing. Neither him or his family could afford to hire a lawyer to represent him in his case. However, the prison paralegals at the Kodiaga Justice centre were instrumental in assisting by way of training Mr. Bor on how to speak up confidently in court, how to ask questions during cross examination, re-examination and examination in chief. Subsequent to this coaching and with tips from the paralegals Mr. Bor’s case was heard and judgment made on 23rd March 2017 in his favor. He was acquitted and he is no longer at the Maximum Prison Facility.
II. OFFENCE: DEFILEMENT: 9/2013-KISUMU
Atieli Shikunyi Ofira, 87 years of age was sentenced to five years imprisonment for defiling a five year old girl. Ofira a resident of Kisumu could not afford to hire a lawyer to represent him in his case. His family members too could not afford to pay for his legal services. However, his case could not be proved beyond doubt as there had been no medical examination of the minor to ascertain these claims and there were no witnesses to attest to this crime being committed.
The Kituo trained prison paralegals were instrumental in identifying the gaps and loopholes present in his case file. They trained Ofira, on how to conduct himself in court, the relevant questions to ask during cross examination, examination in chief and re-examination.
He was acquitted on 23rd February, 2017 after the Kisumu Law Court ruled in his favor. He is no longer at the Maximum Prison Facility.
Kituo Cha Sheria