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Court bans random use of breathalysers

Publish date: 10 April 2017
Issue Number: 721
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Kenya

A Kenyan court has banned random breathalyser tests as a way to snare intoxicated drivers. The decision was made following a three-year battle by bar owner Kariuki Ruitha, who complained that breathalysers were affecting his business. His lawyer said the law was 'oppressive and unreasonable' if motorists were tested without committing a traffic offence. BBC News reports that he argued that they violated the constitutional rights of citizens to make their own lifestyle decisions – including how much they can drink. Sitting in the Court of Appeal, the three judges said drunk drivers could still be charged if they violate the rules of the road. At that point, a breathalyser can be used. The judges have sent the law back to Parliament to be rewritten.

Full BBC News report