Bail and Bond Implementation Committee - BBIC
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Implementation of bail and bond in top gear
The Judiciary has administered over 500 bail and bond terms to accused persons in one of its court stations under new guidelines unveiled in 2015 to guide the application of bail and bond in police and courts.
Bomet law courts administered 518 bail and bond terms as at August 31, 2016, over the last one year. Out of this number, 266 accused persons were released on cash bail and 252 on bond terms.
At Kilgoris law courts, the committee responsible for implementing the Bail and Bond Policy Guidelines established that 89 accused persons had violated bail and bond terms. They include 50 released on cash bail and 39 on bond terms.
Further, the Bail and Bond Implementation Committee (BBIC) established that 160 matters at Kilifi law courts, were cases affected by non-attendance of accused persons released on bond.
Most cash bails at Bomet were administered to offenders suspected to have committed offenses related to grievous harm, maim, assault, traffic and alcoholic drinks and licensing. At Kilgoris, most cash bails were granted to persons accused of stealing.
Traffic cases account for the highest number of matters at the three courts where accused persons jumped bail. Overall, most cash bails at the courts were administered in traffic, assault, stealing and alcoholic drinks-related cases.
Most cases handled at Kilgoris include traffic and sexual offenses and those related to stock theft, assault, robbery, alcoholic drinks control and licensing, forestry (charcoal burning and transportation) and land matters (grazing disputes).
According to the committee chaired by High Court Criminal Division Presiding Judge Jessie Lesiit, the courts are hearing all pending cases but have issued warrants of arrest in matters where the accused have jumped bail and summons to sureties where those involved violated bond terms.
The committee explained that absconding court affects expeditious disposal of cases leading to delayed justice.
According to the new policy guidelines, bond terms may also involve the release of an accused on a personal bond (free bond) or deposit of a security including, logbook, title deed or share certificate. Further, the policy encourages use of Pay slips by those standing surety in appropriate cases. These measures complement the cash bail, normally asked by the courts.
The committee instituted measures to monitor status of the implementation of the policy in each court station with a view of establishing the number of accused persons who absconded bail/bond, among other issues.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Judiciary developed the Bail and Bond Policy Guidelines to give direction to the administration of bail and bond in courts and police stations and decongest prison facilities.
The guidelines seek to establish fairness and bring consistency and standards in bail/bond terms and guide police and judicial officers in the application of laws that provide for bail and bond. Further, they seek to emphasise oversight mechanisms and inter-agency co-ordination as well as public sensitisation.
This is to ensure the rights of suspects and accused persons to liberty and to be presumed innocent are balanced with the public interest, including protecting the rights of victims of crime.
The BBIC was constituted in July 2015 to oversee the implementation of the guidelines.
So far, the committee has developed a manual to assist train justice sector actors on the guidelines. It has trained over 30 officers on the guidelines who will in turn train institutions in the criminal justice sector.
Further, it has developed a template to monitor and evaluate implementation of the guidelines. The tool monitors the type of cases at court stations, number of released persons under bail and bond terms, bail/bond terms reviewed and accused persons who abscond bail/bond among other variables. The tool is being piloted at Kibera, Naivasha, Iten, Nyeri, Kilifi, Machakos, Busia, Meru, Garissa and Kisii law courts.
The committee is expected to develop practice directions/guidelines for use by various stakeholders on bail and bond application, develop legislative proposals to inform law reform on bail and bond administration and monitoring and reporting on the application of the policy guidelines among other activities.
The policy directions outlined in the new guidelines emphasise:
The Research Report on Women Serving Community Service Orders Probation was launched in Nairobi. The study was conducted jointly by Probation and Aftercare Service and Penal Reform International with funding from kid Thailand Institute of Justice. The occasion was graced by Presiding Judge, Criminal Division of the High Court, Nairobi, Lady Justice Jessie Lesiit and Justice Luka Kimaru.
COMMITTEE HANDS REPORT TO CHIEF JUSTICE WILLY MUTUNGA
Bail and Bond Implementation Committee (BBIC) chair, Lady Justice Jessie Lesiit, hands to the Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga, the Mid-Term Review report on the Implementation of the Bond and Bail Policy Guidelines.
Members and the Secretariat of the Bail and Bond Implementation Committee (BBIC) in a photo moment with Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga during the presentation of the Mid-Term Review report on the Implementation of the Bond and Bail Policy Guidelines.
The Bail and Bond Implementation Committee, which is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the Bail and Bond Policy Guidelines are fully implemented is developing a manual to assist in training the justice sector actors on the Guidelines.
The move is intended to facilitate the implementation of the Policy Guidelines that were launched in March 20, 2015. The Guidelines seek to bring consistency and standards in the application of bail by courts and police stations.
The Bail and Bond Implementation Committee (BBIC) met in Mombasa from June 5 - 9, 2016, to develop the training manual that will be used in the training of trainers who will in turn train stakeholders in the justice sector.
Hon Lady Justice Jessie Lesiit, who is the Committee’s chair, as well as the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division, commended the team for the progress the Committee had achieved which includes the development of charters for the National Police Service and the Judiciary.
During the Mombasa forum, the Committee also visited Kilifi Police Station to engage with the police on the application of and compliance with the Bail and Bond Policy Guidelines. Further, the team held discussions with members of the Court Users Committee at the Kilifi Law Courts on challenges affecting administration of bail and bond in courts and at police stations.
Justice Lesiit called on the police to ensure that processing of bail is not delayed, saying that this denied justice to arrested persons. The team was accompanied by Hon Lady Justice Lydia Achode who chaired the Task Force that developed the Policy Guidelines.
Meanwhile, the Committee has developed a template to be used to monitor and evaluate implementation of the Policy Guidelines in the country. The tool which was developed with the help of the Judiciary’s Directorate of Performance Management, will be applied in 10 pilot court stations which include Kibera, Naivasha, Iten, Nyeri, Kilifi, Machakos, Busia, Meru, Garissa and Kisii.
Further, the Committee is mandated to undertake various strategies aimed at institutionalizing application of the Guidelines in the country.
Among the key activities scheduled for rollout to entrench the Guidelines include the development of practice directions/guidelines for use by various stakeholders on bail and bond application, development of legislative proposals and development and distribution of IEC materials. The Committee is also involved in spearheading the process of public awareness campaigns on the application of bail and bond in the country.
All these interventions are geared towards ensuring effective implementation of the Policy Guidelines through building the capacity of stakeholders on the application of the Guidelines, engagement of relevant actors, creating awareness on the Guidelines as well as streamlining Bail and Bond legislation.
The Committee has structured its engagement through regular meetings, workshops and seminars, public hearings, stakeholders’ consultations, visits to sector institutions and correctional facilities.
The Bail and Bond Implementation Committee was appointed by the Hon Chief Justice by gazettment on October 9, 2015, with effect from July 2, 2015. Its mandate is to:
Hon. Lady Justice Lesiit is the Committee’s chair, Ms Mary Oundo, the Vice Chair with Mr. Clement Okech of the Probation and After Care Services as the secretary.
Other members are drawn from the Judiciary, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Probation and After Care Services, National Police Service, Office of Attorney-General, Law Society of Kenya, Independent Policing Oversight Authority, Kenya Prisons Service, Kenya Law Reform Commission, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Children's Department, Legal Resources Foundation, Judiciary Training Institute, National Transport and Safety Authority, and the National Council on the Administration of Justice. The Committee is facilitated by the Office of the Deputy Chief Justice.