ICC bribery witness a liar, says Gicheru lawyer

The defence team pokes holes in honesty of first prosecution witness

In Summary
  • Defence claims even the Office of The Prosecution (OTP) had viewed the witness as a liar
  • Witness says Gicheru capable of getting people to provide false information
Paul Gicheru at the ICC hearing on November 6, 2020.
Paul Gicheru at the ICC hearing on November 6, 2020.
Image: Screen Grab

The defence team in the case against lawyer Paul Gicheru at the ICC on Wednesday endeavoured to demonstrate the first prosecution witness is a perennial liar.

Gicheru’s lawyer Michael G Karnavas told the court the character of Witness P0800 was in question and that even the Office of The Prosecution had viewed him as a liar.

In cross-examination, Karnavas further told the court that other witnesses said P0800 provided them with false information and manufactured falsehoods to be passed on to the prosecution.

Karnavas said witness Number 7 repeatedly said P0800 coached him to be a witness. “Is he lying?” he posed but P0800 maintained that the witness lied saying “I have not manufactured anything”

P0800 said Gicheru would do anything to protect themselves, including influencing witnesses.

“The counsel knows exactly people like his client are able to get witnesses to provide false information,” he said.

P0800 on Tuesday told the court he was offered a bribe to recant all his testimonies in order to undermine case against Deputy President William Ruto and the then KASS radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang at the ICC.

Witness P0800 further said those offering the bribe asked him not to appear before the court when needed to testify.

Gicheru is accused of committing offences against the administration of justice in the case against the two. He has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of interfering with witnesses.

On Wednesday, Karnavas told the court P0800 spoke to OTP 58 times for 43 days for about 150 hours and generated 734 pages of evidence.

P0800 however said he had not done the calculations but gave sufficient evidence in the case.

The defence said the witness reviewed the documents on March 25, 2014 with the OTP and was questioned in person.

He said the witness was told he was going to be interviewed on tape “the reason being they wanted full honesty this time round and you answered okay”.

“What that means is that they had information that you may have tried to interfere with other witnesses. They even said you needed a lawyer and reminded you that you needed to be 100 per cent honest,” he said.

He told the court that after the witness left the OTP after giving evidence on the first occasion, he was involved in witness tampering.

“You told us you were honest with the prosecution but so far the impression we get is that OTP viewed you as a liar,” he added.

P0800 objected and said he was uncomfortable being referred by the defence as a liar.

“Why is it that the counsel keeps referring to me as a liar though it is his line of asking questions? I ask the counsel to respect my integrity. If I was a liar, all the information I brought would not be here. The information I gave is of substance,” he said.

Presiding judge Miatta Maria Samba intervened and asked P0800 to remain calm even when the defence calls him a liar.

“I assure you the counsel does not mean to demean you. Just calm down and answer the questions and things will be smooth. If you will be mentioning any witnesses, then we will have a private session,” she said.

The defence said P0800 wanted “something” from the prosecution, the reason he reached out to talk them on March, 25, 2014.

“This is serious. You wanted something from them and that is why you called them back. Your security was an issue. You were being viewed as a suspect. You were playing both sides at the same time and they told you it was going to be difficult if you are not frank with them,” Karnavas said.

The case against Ruto and Sang was dismissed in 2016 over insufficient evidence.

The prosecution, led by James Stewart and Anton Steynberg told the court on Tuesday that Gicheru organised systematic criminal scheme aimed at approaching and corrupting witnesses.

Gicheru allegedly offered bribes and other inducements, in exchange for withdrawal as witnesses and/or recantation of their prior statements to the Prosecution.

Ruto and Sang were accused of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the context of the 2007-2008 post-election violence.



-Edited by SKanyara

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