Chief Justice David Maraga, on Friday, addressed concerns raised over suspects appearing in court while concealing their faces.
In a memo to Judges, Magistrates and Kadhis, Maraga noted that allowing suspects to cover their faces with hoodies and dark glasses was aiding impunity.
“It has come to my attention that of late, suspects taken to court to face various criminal charges have taken to hiding their identity by wearing dark glasses or covering their faces with hoodies to make themselves unidentifiable.
“While the right to privacy must be respected at all times, the due process of the administration of justice may well be hampered if suspects in criminal matters are not easily identifiable and connected physically to the charges they are facing especially while taking a plea,” he stated.
He directed the judges to exercise control of their courts to ensure they are not seen to be perpetuating impunity.
“I am aware that Muslim women who wear hijabs or burqas as well as other people who wear religious attire have routinely complied with court directions and have never sought to conceal their identities.
“While exercising your individual control of your courts, you must ensure that you are not seen to be perpetuating impunity, by allowing egregious behaviour by suspects, particularly when such behavior could bring the court to disrepute,” Maraga directed.
Earlier on, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr questioned why suspects in the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) tax evasion case appeared in court wearing hoodies and sunglasses.
“How can a court allow this? When their names were called out, how did the magistrate confirm it was the accused?” the Senator posed on Twitter.