Today marked the beginning of the interview for the country's next Chief Justice by Judicial Service Commission. The first person to be interviewed was Justice Said Juma Chitembwe who witnessed a difficult time explaining a past judgement that was considered largely controversial. In that past judgement Justice Chitembwe set free a 19-year old man who had been accused of defiling his girlfriend. This judgement caused a huge uproar among right activists who saw it as setting a bad precedent for defilement cases.
However, Justice Chitembwe stood by his decision said that he considered the facts of the case and social implications of the law. Further, the high court judge claimed that his ruling was not advocating for reduction of consent age but the issue at hand was the social aspect of the law. "Is the law serving the people and how do we interpret it?" Justice Chitembwe asked the panel.
Kenya has laws such as the sexual offences act and the children's act that protects minors against defilement and abuse. However, there have been cases where such defilement cases are pushed by the parents of the minors when these minors are comfortable with their actions. Justice Chitembwe argued before the panel that such was the case presented before him. The recruiting panel will factor in this case and Chitembwe's argument when making their final assessment for the candidate.
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