HE'S SICK

Ombeta declines to disclose his medical condition to court

Ombeta, who was clad in a sweat pant, appeared before the judge and apologised to court for not coming to court but said he was still unwell.

In Summary

• Four APs: Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku, Leonard Mwangi and police informer Peter Ngugi, have denied murdering human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.

• Ombeta said he is a normal person who can fall sick just like any other person and the court should understand his situation.

Lawyer Ombeta in Court
Lawyer Ombeta in Court
Image: ENOS TECHE

Defence lawyer Cliff Ombeta in Willie Kimani murder case yesterday refused to disclose in open court what he is ailing from, which has stalled the hearing of the case.

On Monday, the case was adjourned after the court was informed that Ombeta was unwell and could not attend court.

In the case, four APs: Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku, Leonard Mwangi and police informer Peter Ngugi, have denied murdering human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.

Justice Jessie Lessit had allowed the adjournment and directed the matter to be mentioned on Thursday but the lawyer didn’t show up, leading to her summoning him to appear in court and explain.

Ombeta, who was clad in a sweat pant, appeared before the judge and apologised to court for not coming to court but said he was still unwell.

He said he is not feeling well and that’s the reason why he could not come to court adding that he had all the documents from the hospital showing that he is indeed sick.

Ombeta said he is a normal person who can fall sick just like any other person and the court should understand his situation.

He also said that he is expected to undertake several further tests on Monday which means he can’t appear in court as scheduled and asked the court to mention the case on Tuesday to know his condition.

He said his medical condition was private and he would not disclose it to court but maintained that he was unwell.

However, the prosecution could not hear Ombeta’s explanation and insisted that his claims that he was sick are questionable.

Prosecutor Nicholas Mutuku said they are in the process of investigating Ombeta’s claims at the hospital to ascertain if he was indeed unwell.

Victims lawyer Prof Ben Sihanya also opposed Ombeta’s claims saying the court should consider the victims in adjourning the case further.

In response, a furious Ombeta insisted that his medical condition was very genuine but he could not reveal it to the lawyers because it was private.

"What am ailing from for how long and what the ailment is not important, let my ailment be about me because am the one who is in pain," he said.

He also asked the lawyers opposing and doubting his documents if they were happy with his current condition.

"Please leave me alone to ail am the one in pain," he added.

Judge Lessit ruled that Ombeta was not the one trial and no one chooses to be sick adding that the court wanted to know his position.

The judge said that Ombeta should be allowed to have his peace of mind.

She noted that the problem was how his case was presented, which was difficult to the parties and that why he was called to court to explain.

The case will be mentioned on Tuesday next week for further direction and the court will also be told how Ombeta will be fairing.

The next witness in the case is crucial as he is expected to present Ngugi's confession which details how the three were killed.