Police given go ahead to collect fines from minor offenders

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The High Court has allowed police officers to impose instant fines on motorists for minor offences.

Justice John Mativo said on Tuesday that the Traffic rules were necessitated by the need to curb corruption in the traffic department of the police service, speed up cases and bring sanity on roads.

“A task force comprising various stakeholders recommended the drafting of the rules,” he said

“This court hoists high the need to combat corruption, restore sanity and observe the law on our roads.” He added

Mativo said that the rules are aimed at achieving a legitimate purpose and public good to some extent.

The case, filed by Kenya National Union of Co-operatives employees, sought to have the rules nullified and police stopped from applying them. The union argued that imposing such fines is the work of courts and the process restritcted the offenders the due process of the law.

“Imposing instant fines without affording a road user the opportunity to be heard offends natural justice. Individuals do not get a fair public trial before competent courts established under the Constitution,” the petitioners said.

The Union added that by mandating the police to arrest, charge, take plea, admit to bail, prosecute, sentence and collect fines from suspects, the Transport Cabinet Secretary had allowed police officers to be judges.

Justice Mativo however, said it would be pointless to have a person desiring to plead guilty be compelled to attend court only to do the same.

“Besides, if well managed and the payment of fines is automated, it can eliminate corruption and serve a legitimate purpose,” Justice Mativo said

Mativo added that instant fines would prevent minor offences from reaching court hence saving time and money.

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