Article 49 of the constitution of Kenya 2010 outlines the rights of an arrested person, however most people are not well informed about these rights as they are not familiar with the constitution because of ignorance.
An arrested person has the right to be informed promptly in the languages that person understands, firstly, the reason for the arrest. When any police officer is arresting someone he/she has the obligation to explain to that person the reasons for the arrest, the right to remain silent and also the consequences of not remaining silent.
Secondly, an arrested person has the right to communicate to an advocate or other persons whose assistance is necessary. Also an arrested person has the right not to be compelled to make any confessions or admission that could be used in evidence against the person, most police officers tend to compel the arrested person to admit to the offense so as to ease their work of investigation. If at any point this happens and the person is charged with the offense he/she never committed, they can always raise in court that the admission for the offense was under duress or undue influence.
Thirdly, the right to be held separately from persons who are serving a sentence , once an officer arrests any person there is always a presumption of innocent till proven guilty therefore he/she required to be held separate from those serving sentence until taken to a law court where he/she will be charged.
Fourthly, the right to be brought before a court as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than 24 hours after being arrested or if the 24 hours ends outside ordinary court hours or on the a day that is not an ordinary court day, the end of the next court day. The accused person has a right, at the first court appearance to be charged or informed of the reason for the detention continuing or to be released and to be released on bond or bail on reasonable conditions, pending a charge or trial unless there are compelling reasons not to be released or if the offense is a capital offense like murder and robbery with violence or if the accused person is a treat to the peace of the people around him/her.
Further this article states that a person shall not be remanded in custody for an offense if the offense is punishable by a fine only or by imprisonment for not more than six months.
After an accused person has been taken to law court he/she has the right to a fair hearing, article 50 of the constitution of Kenya 2010 outlines those rights and that every person has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of law be decided in a fair and public hearing before a court or if appropriate another independent and impartial tribunal or body, this methods can be referred to as alternative dispute resolution.(ADR)
Every accused person has the right to a fair trial, which includes the right:
- To be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, this can be also be referred as presumption of innocence.
- To be informed of the charge with sufficient detail to answer it, if the accused person does not understand the charge the arresting officer has the obligation to explain in the terms he/she can understand.
- To a public trial before a court established under the constitution of Kenya 2010, any accused person has a right to be tried in a law court depending on the offense he/she charged of.
- To have trial begin and conclude without unreasonable delay because justice delayed is justice denied.
- To be present when being tried, unless the conduct of the accused person makes it possible for trial to proceed, this will ensure that during cross examination the accused is aware of the proceedings and also during mitigation process.
- To choose and be represented by an advocate and to be informed of his rights promptly, or to have an advocate assigned to the accused person by the state and at he expense of the state, if substantial injustice would otherwise result.
- To be informed in advance of the evidence the prosecution intends to rely on, and to have reasonable access to that evidence and also to adduce and challenge the evidence produced.