INDISCIPLINE

Supreme Court scolds Ahmednassir for 'disparaging remarks'

They upheld the conviction of the terror suspects

In Summary

• Judges said wilful insults directed at a judge during a trial are prohibited.

• They added that Ahmednassir conducted himself in a disgraceful manner.

Lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi during Presidential election petition at the Supreme Court on August 29, 2017./Jack Owuor
Lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi during Presidential election petition at the Supreme Court on August 29, 2017./Jack Owuor

The Supreme Court has issued a stern warning to Senior Counsel Ahmednassir Abdullahi following his disparaging remarks on how they handled the case against two Iranians convicted of terror charges. 

When the case was last heard in December last year, the lawyer accused the court of behaving like headless chicken and lacking impartiality in the case.

Ahmednassir said the court was exercising illegitimate political power over the two Iranians who were acquitted by the Court of Appeal and that there is a moral and ethical dilemma whenever he appeared before them. 

In a ruling read by Justice Jackton Ojwang', the Supreme Court said willful insults directed at a judge during trial are prohibited. The judges were making decision in a matter involving two Iranian terror suspects.

They upheld the conviction of the terror suspects.

This means the Iranians who were initially sent to jail for 15 years will go back to Kamiti Prison to complete the remaining 10 years before they are deported.

Chief Justice David Maraga, judges Isaac Lenaola, Njoki Ndung'u and Jacton Ojwang' agreed that the sentence was rightful. Judges Mohammed Ibrahim and Smokin Wanjala dissented. The two said the circumstantial evidence was not sufficient to warrant their sentencing.

Ojwang' said Ahmednassir conducted himself in a disgraceful manner and was disrespectful to the authority of the court. 

"It baffled our mind how a senior counsel like Ahmednassir seeking justice for his clients before this court would address the bench in such terms. His remarks were clearly intended to cast aspersions on this court and taint credibility," they said. 

Yesterday, the court observed that advocates are obliged to observe rules of their professionalism and as an officer of the court, Ahmednassir  owes allegiance to the course of justice and truth. 

As a result, the Supreme court expunged the offending paragraphs and said they will not remain as part of record of the Supreme Court.

They said lawyers shall not engage in such conduct and in the future they will occasion contempt of court proceedings with ineligible consequences.

Ojwang' said the Supreme Court shall have same power as the High Court to punish any persons in contempt of court. And any advocate found to assault, threatens, intimidates or willfully insults a judge of the highest court during a sitting or attendance will be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five days, or to pay a fine not exceeding Sh500,000, or both, for every offence.