Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pushback from Mombasa High Court

In an interesting development on civilian review of a Kenyan court-martial, a High Court justice has ordered the Director of Public Prosecutions to provide the petitioner's counsel with the court-martial file. according to this report. The government had told the court that counsel should seek it from the Kenya Defence Forces.
“We have handled court martial cases before and we know the difficulty the appellant’s counsel is going through when he says the proceedings have not been availed to him,” Justice [Martin] Muya said.
The petitioner was sentenced to life imprisonment for desertion, and is seeking bail pending appeal. A number of other desertion cases remain pending.

Problems with access to records of trial are not unheard of. One can recall a case in which a Pakistani soldier's appeal was thwarted for a time because he was denied access to the record. The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals has also faced the issue on an extraordinary writ (even though the Uniform Code of Military Justice explicitly affords the accused the right to a copy of the record of trial); happily, that issue was mooted.

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