Section 77 makes provision that the place at which a criminal is held shall be held for the purposes of trying an offence shall be deemed to be an open court to which the public generally may have access so far as it can conveniently contain them;  there is a provision enabling the court to order at any stage of the trial that the public generally or any particular person shall not have access to or rem in the room or building used by the court.

In Mundia and others v R 1955 22 EACA 417 arising during the Mau Mau emergency, the 1st Accused …  the court held that apart from the provisions in the CPC that require that a court be opened there is an inherent jurisdiction to exclude the public where this becomes necessary in order to administer justice.  But justice must be seen to be done and the discretion under the CPC and the inherent power are not to be used lightly .  they should only be exercised for a most compelling reason.  Exclusion of the public is justified where the administration of justice would be rendered impracticable by the presence of the public either because the case could not be effectively be tried because of possible violence to witnesses or to other persons taking part in the trial or because the parties entitled to justice would reasonable be deterred by publicity from seeking relief at the hands of the court.

A hearing in camera may also be justified where this involves a secret process; where the security of the state and the public generally would be compromised by a public hearing.  The burden is upon the party seeking to outs the ordinary p9rocedure to show that the hearing in camera necessary, proof can by way of affidavit.

Judges chambers – trial can be held as long as they are treated as open court to which members of the public have access – Will John v R, 1956 23 EACA 509 it was held that nothing wrong with trial that held in the chambers of the Chief Justice of Seychelles even though no member of the public was present.

Section 77(2) of the CPC makes it mandatory for all trials relating to sexual offences and though found to be insane to be held in camera and further makes it an offence to public by whatever means the particulars which may lead to the identification of the victims or the picture of the victim – further contravention of this punishable by a fine not exceeding Kshs 100,000 in the case of an individual and Kshs. 500,000 for a corporation.


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