“There’s an obvious injustice of filling up the jails with teenage offenders who get intimate with fellow teenagers as they experiment in their adolescence,” Maraga.
While speaking during the launch of a two-day peer learning seminar on gender-based violence, Chief Justice David Maraga criticised the criminal justice system for being biased against the boy child at a time when gender-based violence cases are rampant. He said the issue has been exacerbated by gaps in the criminal justice system and expressed dissatisfaction in the manner in which a bill to decriminalise teenage sex was handled in parliament.
He explained how the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) tried to address the issue by presenting a memorandum on the bill which proposed amendment on the Sexual Offences Act in the national assembly two years ago but in vain. The bill proposed an amendment on the Sexual Offences Act. “The proposal’s intention was to elaborate principles of law and to integrate values and principals as enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Fida had noted the problematic Section Eight of the Sexual Offences Act, which criminalises sex among teenagers and had proposed that the section be amended along the Romeo and Juliet right so as to reduce the number of teenage boys going to jail,” he argued.
“This needs to be seriously considered. I have no problem when the perpetrator is aged, but my problem arises when it comes to boys and girls between 17-20 years,” the CJ added.
Maraga furthermore heaped praise on the Court of Appeal for being an exemplar of defending the boychild.”Luckily, our courts are responding well, for example when the Court of Appeal held that it is unconstitutional to criminalise sexual acts among teenagers,” he noted.