NAIROBI – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has dismissed Migori governor Okoth Obado’s bid to delay murder case against him postponed due to Covid-19.
Obado together with clerks Caspal Obiero and Michael Oyamo face murder in the case of Rongo University Student Sharon Otieno and her unborn child.
The DPP through Catherine Mwaniki Monday opposed the application for adjournment.
According to Mwaniki, Obado travelled to Nairobi even after movement from his home county despite cautions by the Ministry of Health.
The DPP noted that Obado appeared at the Ramogi FM on 30th June and also appeared at a KBC station both of which are in Nairobi.
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Mwaniki said a the case will proceed in a tent with the number of people restricted in-line with MOH guidelines.
She also cited the BBI appeal case that proceeded at the Court of Appeal last week as an example.
The trial was to commence on Monday and proceed for the next two weeks.
Appearing before Justice Cecilia Githua on Monday were Kioko Kilukumi and Rodgers Sagana for Migori Governor Obado; Prof Tom Ojienda for second accused Micheal Oyamo and Elsiha Ongoya for third accused Casper Obiero.
On June 17, the Health Minister designated 13 counties, among them Migori as a Covid-19 hotspots.
Kilukumi arguing for the adjournment, told the court the request they made was not deliberate to delay or postpone hearing.
“We were simply drawing the attention to court to a public health risk if we were to violate the guidelines issued by MOH.”
“It’s not the intention of Obado to delay or derail prosecution of this matter.”
Ojienda, acting for Oyamo, said his client lives in a hotspot zone.
He said the hearing proceeding amidst the restrictions, would compromise their physical engagement.
Ojienda said witnesses who are all from the Covid red zone would suffer too.
Ojienda said the containment measures have banned gatherings and inhibits certain critical meetings.
He has asked the court to set aside the hearing dates slated for today to July 15.
Ojienda also urged the court that once the hearing starts, mention takes place after 30 days. This would allow the court get a brief on the state of Covid in Migori.
But Daniel Njoroge appearing for the victim’s family, there was no lockdown due to the said increase in infections.
“There is no reason why we cannot have open court sessions.”
“Nothing prevents the accused persons from being tested before coming to court, further delays to this matter will be prejudicial to the family of the victim.”
“A balance must be struck between the right to an accused person and the rights of the family of the victim.”
Njoroge said movement was not restricted out of Migori. He also said that application of the 7 PM curfew ceases to exist once they get out of that county.
“If indeed they want their name cleared , seeking further adjournment does not support that contention. I support the prosecution request to get a tent as done in the BBI Appeal.”
Njoroge requested the motion for adjournment denied.