1.The Respondent herein was acquitted in Milimani Criminal Traffic Case No 2808 of 2016 of the offence of Careless Driving Contrary to Section 49 (1) of the Traffic Act cap 403 of the Laws of Kenya. The Appellant being aggrieved proffered Criminal Appeal No 132 of 2017 on October 3, 2017 that was later withdrawn on March 21, 2022 before Nzioka J. It turns out that the instant appeal was filed, admitted and directions given for parties to file written submissions to dispose the appeal.
2.When the matter came up on November 3, 2022, for purposes of confirming filing of submissions, the Respondent made an oral application seeking to strike out the appeal, the main ground being that the current appeal is an abuse of court process. That it is not clear how the two appeals were filed and that the current appeal was filed when another appeal was pending.
3.The Respondent argues that the appeal amounts to double jeopardy and that a person cannot be tried twice.
4.The Appellant opposed the objection raised. It stated that the appeal was filed inadvertently. That the court has not determined any issue on the appeals and that Criminal Appeal No 132 of 2017 was not dismissed but withdrawn. That the current appeal was not filed in abuse of court process since it was filed after the former appeal was withdrawn.
5.From the record, Criminal Appeal No 132 of 2017 came up before Nzioka J on March 21, 2022 when Ms Akunja for the Republic applied to have the matter withdrawn. There was no reason given for that decision although it can be noted that the court had issued a Notice to show cause why the appeal could not be marked as abandoned against the Appellant. Counsel for the Respondent, Mr Njenga, who was present did not object to the withdrawal.As stated above Criminal Appeal No 132/2017 was filed on October 3, 2017, while the instant appeal was filed on January 26, 2018, following leave to file the appeal out of time having been granted by the court on January 23, 2018.
6.The Respondent’s argument that the current appeal was filed during the pendency of another appeal following the same decision is therefore true. However, whether the existence of the two appeals amounted to an abuse of due process is a different issue.
7.The definition of abuse of court process was addressed in the civil case of Muchanga Investments Limited v Safaris Unlimited (Africa) Ltd & 2 Others Civil Appeal No 25 of 2002  KLR 229, where Court of Appeal referred to what can be termed as a general view of what would amount to abuse of judicial process:i.Instituting multiplicity of actions on the same subject matter against the same opponent on the same issues or a multiplicity of action on the same matter between the same parties even where there exists a right to begin the action.ii Instituting different actions between the same parties simultaneously in different courts even though on different grounds.iii.Where two similar processes are used in respect of the exercise of the same right for example, a cross appeal and a respondent’s notice.iv.Where there is no iota of law supporting a Court process or where it is premised on frivolity or recklessness.”
8.In criminal prosecution the Director of Public Prosecution is bound by Article 157 to act in public interest and to avoid abuse of court process. In the case of James Karuga Kiiru v Joseph Mwamburi and 3 Others Nrb CA No 171 of 2000 the court stated that:
9.In the instant case the court cannot conclude that the appellant’s actions were intentional and malicious. It is apparent that it was a clear case of inadvertence. Neither the Appellant nor the Respondent advised the court in Criminal Appeal 132 of 2017 on existence of this matter for the court to consider the appropriate action at that stage.
10.Further, Criminal Appeal No. 132 of 2017 seemed to have been brought out of time and without leave of court. On the other hand, the current appeal was brought after Ngenye J (As she then was) who granted leave on January 25, 2018, to the Appellant to appeal the judgement issued in Milimani Criminal Traffic Case No 2808/2016 delivered in April, 2017.
11.All this leads to the conclusion that the Appellant’s actions were not ill motivated or an abuse of court process. Further the Respondent has not demonstrated any prejudice or injustice that would result if this matter were to proceed.
12.This court has been enjoined to discharge its mandate under Section 354 of the Criminal Procedure Code.The record is clear, at the time of admission the first appeal had already been withdrawn. This appeal was admitted on April 1, 2022 while Appeal No 132/2017 was withdrawn on March 21, 2022. It cannot be stated that issues in this appeal are res-subjudice
13.The bone of contention is whether filing the second appeal amounted to double jeopardy. Criminal Appeal No 132 of 2017 was filed first but it was never determined on merit. The matter was withdrawn at the preliminary stage after the court issued a Notice to show cause against the Appellant. As such no finding or judgement flowed from that case to inform the Respondent’s fear that he is being tried twice over the same lower court judgement.
14.The defence of autrefois acquit’ which the Respondent has cited in his submissions to strike out this appeal is captured under Article 50(2) (a) of the Constitution. This is the foundation of the legal protection against “double jeopardy” which gives right to the defence of ‘autrefois convict’ or ‘autrefois acquit’
15.Section 50(2) (a) of the Constitution provides:Therefore, this defence can only be qualified where there is an existing finding over the same issues.
16.The reasoning behind this principle is quite clear – there must be finality in legal processes. An accused person must be protected from the prejudice he would suffer by going through a second trial after the State has seen his entire defence and to protect citizens from undue oppression by the State.( See the case of Nicholas Kipsigei Ngetich & 6 others v Republic  eKLR). But, as afore stated, this was not the case in the instant case.
17.In the result, I find the argument raised by the Respondent lacking merit, accordingly, it is rejected.
18.It is so ordered.