Nakuru — With only a week left to his terminal retirement, fate took Chief Justice David Maraga to the humble station where he started his 25-year successful career.
The CJ narrated his career journey since pupilage which he did in Nakuru, how he became a lawyer, judge and eventually Chief Justice. Maraga is set to retire later this month.
On Friday, Maraga was back to Nakuru where he launched the Sh347 million ultra-modern Law Courts Building.
Looking back at the old and dilapidated court stations, Maraga said he is happy with the transformation in the courts complete with modern buildings and facilities.
The World Bank-funded new court station he launched in Nakuru on Friday will have lounges and lactating rooms for mothers.
The CJ narrated an incident when he spent a whole lunch hour in a dingy court cell after a prison warder locked and forgot him inside.
“I had stepped inside the cell to talk to my client when the prison warder decided to briefly lock the room so as to run an errang outside. I can tell you why it is important to have a good facility with proper ventilation,” he said.
The CJ was accompanied by the Court of Appeals President, Justice William Ouko, Judiciary Chief Registrar, Anne Amadi and Governor Lee Kinyanjui among other dignitaries.
Nakuru Law Courts is among stations in the country that was yet to be transformed, having been set up at a colonial structure that has small rooms that serve as courts and offices.
In November 2016, a suspect attacked and injured a Resident Magistrate with a craw-bar at the courts in what was blamed on congestion.
Maraga said the new Nakuru Law Courts building which was the fourth to be officially opened after Nanyuki, Isiolo and Kakamega was a perfect place for judicial staff, suspects, litigants and members of the public.
“These are the futuristic court buildings that will incorporate and house the vital departments aligned to judiciary such as the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions, Prisons, Probation and the Police,” said the CJ.
He said the new model of housing all the departments is aimed at ensuring efficiency and ease of work.
The new Nakuru Law Courts building has 8 courtrooms and 12 chambers, Advocates Lounge with a kitchenette and a separate lounge for judges and magistrates.
Maraga said that Judiciary has embarked on electronic filing of cases in what will help reduce cases of lost files and evidence.
As he prepared to exit, CJ Maraga reiterated the need to review the Sexual Offences Act saying many young men were suffering in prison due to the law.
He cited a case where a 19-year-old boy would be sentenced to life or serve a long jail term for defiling a 17-year-old girl yet, in law, he was not fully mature to take charge of his own decisions.