A judge has overturned a magistrate’s decision to release on bond a trader charged with possessing ivory worth Sh. 44 million.
High Court Judge Martin Muya ruled that Mr Feisal Mohamed Ali, who had been freed on a Sh10 million bond, would remain in custody.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had made an application seeking to reverse the decision by Principal Magistrate Davis Karani.
“It was improper for the trial magistrate to clothe himself with jurisdiction and purport to review the orders of a judge,” said Justice Muya.
The judge ruled that it was unlawful for a magistrate to review the orders of a High Court judge.
Justice Muya said that from the onset, the magistrate did not have jurisdiction to grant bond.
He further said that it was improper for Mr Ali to go back to the lower court and purport to make an application for bond.
Justice Muya said Article 162 of the Constitution provides a system of courts and places them in a hierarchical order.
He added that the order issued by the High Court on March 30 is clear that the accused is to remain in custody, unless contrary orders are issued by a higher court.
“These orders ousted the jurisdiction of the subordinate court from considering the issue of bond in respect to the sixth accused,” said Mr Justice Muya.
Justice Muya said the court did not block Mr Ali from approaching the High Court or the Court of Appeal on the issue of bond.
On the issue of whether the magistrate violated his oath of office, the judge said it would be unjust to condemn him without giving him an opportunity to be heard.
In his application, prosecutor Alexander Muteti argued that the magistrate’s court granted bond to the accused improperly and illegally.
Mr Muteti further said the magistrate’s decision to release the accused on bond last Friday, if entertained while there is a High Court order barring his release, would cause judicial anarchy.
“Kindly invoke your supervisory role, the confidence of our judicial system is germane, the High Court should stamp its authority,” said Mr Muteti.
via Daily Nation