15
October
2016

Legal Update - Traffic offense

You have no right to demand free bond from the police for a traffic offense.

The rush hour
Its 8am, you are rushing to work because you have a presentation at 9am. You just cannot fathom why the alarm misbehaved this morning. Then there is that feeling closer to your heart which reminds you of a possibility the alarm did not misbehave - you misbehaved. Arghh! You hate that feeling, don't you? So on you press the accelerator, in moments like this you always wonder why cars don't fly. Why can't they make these damn things fly? You realize that you are actually shouting this aloud and get a little bit embarrassed with yourself. Aren't you this corporate honcho, who must always keep his calm and behave every sentence of that 'Scaling the Corporate Ladder' book that your wife bought you on your birthday? Oh, the birthday story! You had actually forgotten about your own birthday, you have always wondered why people celebrate birthdays, isn't it obvious that you were born many years ago? So why the hullabaloo as if another virgin birth just occurred? I'm sorry, I digress.

The worst yet to come
So, just as the sweet feeling about your birthday and the gift makes a lazy stroll outside your brain- through the spinal cord exit, this Matatu driver swerves into your lane and crush! You hit sweet and crunchy into the rusty Matatu. This looks like it is going to be an interesting morning. You don't mind the absurdities hurled at you by the conductor, what really irks you is the hooting by other road users behind you as if they are beaconing you to go and serve them beacon. You actually toy with the idea of shouting yourself hoarse at their lack of mannerism, but then you remember the monster before you.

Let's cut the drama, as you brace yourself for a fight with the heavily bearded Matatu driver who is chewing Miraa with the gentleness of a Sage. In fact he portrays the bored look of a teenager eating popcorn while watching a thoroughly boring movie that he is forced to watch for the fear of disappointing the mother who had insisted on the need to watch proper movies. Just when he added another pellet of Big-G into his already full mouth, the police on patrol arrive.

You surprise yourself by the amount of verbosity you are capable of manifesting in this ordeal. The police decide you are actually on the wrong against all logical explanations. Now they have crossed the red line, you state that you will not take this lying down. The logical police man points out that the two of you should meet at the police station to square out this matter. There is no need of creating unnecessary traffic jam. He takes your driving licenses and asks you to meet him at the station.

Know your rights
At the station you are handcuffed and ushered into a cell to await being aligned in court for dangerous driving! (How the mighty have fallen! - you wonder). Aggrieved by how nature can conspire against a peace loving and hardworking citizen like yourself, you recall that the chief justice recently passed some traffic rules dictating that traffic offenders should be given free bond and thus should not be incarcerated in cells. Now you are spoiling for a legal fight. Before you can call your lawyer, here is some free advice.

What is the law?
The Mutunga traffic rules do not in any way protect you from being arrested by the police and being hounded up in a cell awaiting hearing of your case where criminal liability is preferred against you. You heard me right. Contrary to what the media had been proclaiming, these rules were directed to judicial officers, not the police. What this means is that should you be taken to court, the courts must give you free bond pending hearing of your case. But the good fellows in blue will incarcerate your innocent self and handcuff you just as in the good old days despite the rules on traffic offences by the good chief justice. The chief justice, for crying out loud, cannot issue instructions to the police. This is under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Police.

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