Justice James Wakiaga has ordered the media to stop publishing information not acquired from court proceedings in the Monica Kimani murder case.
This means that if the media heeds to the orders, reporters can only generate stories from court proceedings as opposed to relying on their sources in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the defence.
Justice Wakiaga was categorical that constant publishing of sensitive information that is central to the case has led to what he termed as unnecessary public limelight on the case that led Lady Justice Lessit to recuse herself from presiding over the case.
He cited the leakage of Ms.Maribe’s affidavit,which the prosecution submitted to the court as an example. The affidavit contained crucial details on the events that transpired during the night Ms. Kimani was murdered and how Citizen TV anchor Jacque Maribe, the second accused met her co-accused Joseph “Jowie” Irungu, her fiancé.
“Between the prosecution and the investigators who is in love with the press?” Justice Wakiaga asked State Prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki.
The judge further ordered: “The court directs the media that from now on when this file is before me those statements you keep writing about what you have done, what you have not done, the money which has not been collected and recovered, for now you stop writing about that.”
The Star newspaper on Wednesday reported that the deceased was briefly held at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport because she had not declared all the money she was carrying and was only released after an influential figure intervened.
The prosecution has said detectives are still seeking to determine whether money was stolen from her apartment and its whereabouts. She was scheduled to fly out to Dubai.
The High Court judge stated that the public limelight on the case might put him in a difficult situation if he eventually acquits the suspects.
“I am the one likely to hear this matter and the information you put out there might put me into a lot of difficult situations if I acquit these guys.”
Justice Wakiaga’s orders generated a debate in court with the prosecution saying that the constant leaks “are a tactical disadvantage to them.”
Both the lawyers appearing for Ms. Maribe and Irungu’s families revealed that they have written to the mainstream media houses over the stories that they termed as misleading and posing a danger to the families of their clients.
The accused appeared in court for a bail mention. The judge directed that the bail application be heard on October 24.
Justice Wakiaga also directed the probation to prepare and submit the pre-bail report on October 23 to allow the defence to file a response.