ABSENT FROM COURT

Probe Ombeta's alleged illness, court tells DPP

His lawyer provides medical documents showing only the name of the doctor and that Ombeta was given painkillers

In Summary

• The court is to hear police informer's confession against the three accused AP officers; adjourned since Monday due to defence counsel's absence. 

• Prosecution says Ombeta's application for another adjournment raises suspicion, says his illness should be revealed to court. 

Lawyers Kam Nyakundi and Cliff Ombeta leave the Milimani law courts on August 19.
Lawyers Kam Nyakundi and Cliff Ombeta leave the Milimani law courts on August 19.

The High Court on Thursday directed the DPP to investigate claims by defence lawyer Cliff Ombeta that he was unwell and unable to attend the Willie Kimani trial.

A police informer was to testify about details of the murders.

The famous lawyer failed to appear for the mention of  the Willie Kimani’s murder case that had been adjourned on Monday because of his alleged illness. 

Four Administration Police officers — Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku, Leonard Mwangi — and police informer Peter Ngugi have denied murdering human rights lawyer Kimani.

They also denied killing his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.

The court is expected to hear informer Ngugi’s confession that details how the accused persons allegedly carried out the killings.

Justice Jessie Lesiit had allowed the adjournment on Monday and directed the matter to be mentioned on Thursday for further directions because the doctors had given him four days bed rest.

However, through lawyer Doreen Kali, Ombeta told the court that he could not appear as expected as he was still unwell.

Kali produced a document showing that the lawyer was still unwell. She said she could not disclose any information on Ombeta’scondition  because he had not given her any details.

Assistant DPP Nicholas Mutuku strongly opposed Ombeta’s application for adjournment, arguing that his conduct raises suspicions.

He asked the court to allow them to investigate Ombeta’s illness to find out more about the doctor and what is ailing the lawyer.

According to the prosecution, the document given on Monday does not disclose any diagnosis, adding that he was only given painkillers. 

“Since the medical document discloses the name of the doctor, we need a proper inquiry,” Mutuku added.

He further urged Kali to disclose Ombeta’s sickness to the court even if it meant her doing so on camera. 

Mutuku said the inquiry was not in bad faith but to assist the court to ascertain the truth.

"We are being in darkness, and the court should not allow this to happen," Mutuku said.

The victims' families, through their lawyer, also opposed Ombeta's bid for adjournment saying the case has been in court for three years.

In response, Kali maintained that Ombeta will be in court on Monday to explain himself and furnish the court with detained medical documents.

She apologised for the delay and said she could not proceed on behalf of Ombeta because she had no court file and the matter was at an advanced stage.

Judge Lesiit said that what was brought to the court showed that Ombeta was given only painkillers.

“He ought to have given proper information regarding his condition and that information should have been supplied today,” the court ruled.

She allowed the prosecution to probe the medical documents and directed that the matter is mentioned on Friday. 

Edited by R.Wamochie