Chief Justice Maraga launches bench book for criminal cases

Saturday September 22 2018
Maraga IPOA

Chief Justice David Maraga addresses guests after the swearing-in of board members of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), September 21, 2018. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Chief Justice David Maraga on Friday launched the Criminal Procedure Bench Book that will guide magistrates and judges in handling criminal cases.

The book was developed by a technical team that was chaired by Justice Hannah Okwengu.


Justice Maraga described the book as a key deliverable under the agenda of sustaining the Judiciary's transformation.

“The book is one of the initiatives started under my predecessor Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga’s tenure. I saw its completion," he said, noting it underlines commitment to achieving targets.

Mr Maraga further said the bench book is key to improving jurisprudence and the manner in which judges and magistrates dispense justice.


The book is a quick reference for judges and magistrates on statutes, judicial authorities and policies, and will guide them in finding laws relevant to cases.

It will also benefit other players in the criminal justice system, including prosecutors, defence counsel, probation officers, children officers, police officers, accused persons and academics.


Chapter one is a brief overview of principles that underpin criminal justice while chapter two addresses pre-trial matters.

Chapter three deals with actual trials starting with general matters, while chapter four deals with the delivery of judgment and sentencing.

Chapter five addresses appeals and other procedures that take place after sentencing while chapter six is a reference point for matters that relate to processes subject to special procedures.

To facilitate access to resources, the electronic version of the book contains hyperlinks that direct the user to judicial authorities.

In the print version, a list of cases at the end gives the internet addresses for every case mentioned.

Justice Maraga said the sum result of the bench Book will be improved uniformity, efficacy and consistency in criminal proceedings across the country.

“It shall be a crucial resource material for magistrates and judges during criminal trials as well as the basis for further research, training, partnerships, benchmarking, research and development initiatives,” he said.

In January last year, the chief Justice launched the strategic blueprint for the Judiciary, titled 'Sustaining Judiciary Transformation (SJT): A Service Delivery Agenda 2017- 2021'.

The core objective of the SJT strategy is to enhance service delivery for clients and court users.