Chief Justice David Maraga on Thursday recounted an incident where police officers arrested and locked him up for hours.
Maraga revealed that at the time he was a student and was nabbed by police in Nakuru town for allegedly loitering.
The Chief Justice was speaking during the national conference on decriminalisation and re-classification of petty offences organised by the International Commission of Jurists at a Nairobi hotel
He noted that some punishments imposed on petty offences were unconstitutional since they expose poor Kenyans to rampant violations of human rights by security officers.
“Idleness, begging, loitering, drunkenness, disorderliness, prostitution, indecent exposure, nuisances among other misdemeanours should not have a place in this progressive legal climate,” Maraga said.
According to Maraga, the offences should be made “fine only offences”.
“We must ask, of all bodies and institutions that are either part of the criminal justice system or interact with it, the questions that concern all: What really are petty offences? Are these offences serious enough? In the alternative, what would be a legal framework for petty offences?” he said.
Maraga observed that the law had been opening up loopholes for poor people to be mistreated.
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