LONG-TERM EFFECTS

Do not legalise bhang, says judge

She said it is important to look at the long-term interest of Kenyans before allowing the usage of the weed

In Summary

• The High Court judge was being interviewed for promotion to the Court of Appeal. 

• Nyamweya urged other judicial officers to lead by example. 

A file photo of Justice Pauline Nyamweya
A file photo of Justice Pauline Nyamweya

High Court judge Pauline Nyamweya on Tuesday told her employer that she is opposed to the legalisation of bhang.

Nyamweya said her view is informed by the adverse effects the substance has on the youth and other users.

“It is a crime if one is found with bhang or trafficking it, and personally I do not think there can be a law to legalise it because of the harmful effects on human beings,” the judge who wants to be promoted to the Court of Appeal told the Judicial Service commissioners.

 
 
 

She said it is important to look at the long-term interest of Kenyans before legalising the usage of the weed.

The Judicial Service Commission is chaired by Chief Justice David Maraga.

When Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki remarked that Mombasa Law Society members had described her as an independent judge, Nyamweya said it’s because she did good work there.

“My decisions are based on facts and on the law. I don’t concentrate on knowing the parties in my matters and they don’t influence my decisions.” 

The judge said it was important that the public believes that the Judiciary functions fairly.

She said all judicial officers must lead by example especially in corruption-related cases.

Nyamweya urged the Judiciary to put structures and mechanisms to prevent cases of corruption among judges.

Another interviewee, Justice Luka Kimaru of the criminal appeal division told the commissioners that the criminal division of the High Court has been flooded with cases after the decision by the Supreme Court to quash mandatory death sentence.

Kimaru said the challenges were a result of the reconstruction of the files of those sentenced in the '90s. 

He said it has been hard to handle the cases as some files from the 1990s are no longer in the registry, hence the backlog.

He said he is an independent judge, citing the case of Miguna Miguna when the state wanted him deported.

“I was attacked both in the social media and in the mainstream media because they wanted me to rule basing on political affiliation, which I did not and gave my independent ruling,” the judge said.

He said judges should make decisions cognizant of their impact on public interest. They should not take a narrow view of the public in favour of litigants.

Justice Joel Ngugi was also interviewed as were two lawyers.