Questions have been asked following the continual posting of suspects’ mugshots on social media despite a High Court order stop it.
The High Court on December 6 last year, barred Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and DCI boss George Kinoti’s office from posting mugshots of suspects on social media before they are arraigned.
But the DCI department began the new year by posting pictures of suspects arrested for being in possession of game trophies, leopard skin, ivory, rhino horn and a tortoise before they were arraigned.
On its Twitter account on Tuesday, the DCI posted the mugshots of three Chinese nationals – Xing Wei, Zhang Jie and Shang Li and a Kenyan – David Maseno Oseko, who were arrested in Kilimani, Nairobi
The names, ages, country of origin and the offence were posted beside the photos.
For a while, the DCI did not post the mugshots of suspects and instead just put pictures written ‘crime’ or ‘arrested’.
The four appeared in court on Wednesday and police asked for 10 days to complete investigations.
Contempt of Court?
Contempt of court includes the willful disobedience of any judgment, decree, direction, order, or other processes of a court or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
In this case, the DCI is in civil contempt of the court.
When in contempt of court, those held in civil contempt generally must be given notice of the contempt sanctions and an opportunity to be heard, but usually, are not guaranteed a jury trial.
Also, their contempt does not need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, while criminal contempt charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Civil contempt sanctions can be more indefinite, lasting until either the underlying case is resolved or the party in contempt complies with the court order.
The posting of the mugshots did not sit well with some Kenyans on social media who castigated the DCI.
@NjorogeMwalimu said “Breaking the law while enforcing the law makes you a criminal as well. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands!.”
“By posting these photos DCI has gone against the court order and have broken the law too,” @Otiken2015 said.
@MiteiRober said “DCI has totally chosen to ignore court orders barring them from exposing suspects on social media.”
“DCI you should be the one implementing the law to the letter. Justice Wulfrida Okwany in her ruling issued a temporary order barring u from publishing suspects photos until the matter is determined. Here you are breaking laws and court orders in the process of keeping the law and order,” Simon Ombui said.
Wayne Wangila said “What happened to the court order barring this kind of exposure.”
“This issue of posting a caption of suspects in FB is worthless, outrageous, unreasonable, malice and total lack of Respect to our courts which had stopped u from doing this childish acts,” Chrisphine Odhiambo said.
He added, “DCI you must uphold to the rule of Law, in fact, the best caption to post was of the police who murdered Leeds University student at Kibira last year Dec at least that would have been helpful because this one is not helpful at all.”