BY SAM ALFAN.
A Nairobi Chief Magistrate issued a warrant of arrest against Lawyer Diana Kethi Kilonzo after she failed to appear in court for her criminal case.
Chief Magistrate Hannah Ndung’u issued the warrant of arrest in a suit of arrest in a suit where Kethi is accused of stealing a voter’s registration acknowledgement slip.
This comes even after Lawyer Kethi Kilonzo on Monday got temporary orders from high court in her renewed attempt to stop her prosecution in a case in which she is accused of stealing a voter’s registration slip.
High Court Judge Justice Msagha Mbogholi granted Kethi stay orders pending the hearing and determination of a case before the court.
Kethi’s trial was set to commence today before Chief Magistrate Hannah Ndung’u but Justice Mbogholi granted her the stay pending the determination of an application she filed on Tuesday last week citing the conduct of the proceedings as being oppressive.
Through her lawyers Fred Ojiambo and Julie Soweto, she claimed that she has not been provided with a copy of the witness statement and other relevant documents to prepare for the case against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
In his ruling Justice Mbogholi said the trial in the lower court shall not commence until Kethi’s application is heard. He directed the chief magistrate to avail the file before the High Court without any further delay to enable it determines the matter.
On June 19, the Deputy Registrar wrote to the Chief Magistrate calling for the magistrate’s court to produce the file but it has not been availed before the High Court since then.
In the application Kethi’s defence team alleged that the prosecution has continued to contravene her constitutional rights by keeping her in the dark by failing to supply her with all the documentary evidence it seeks to rely on during trial.
“In the circumstances we have no option but to obtain a stay of the lower court proceedings until the application before the High Court is heard and determined,” Soweto stated in the application.
Lawyer Soweto further told the court that since the case was lodged against her client in September last year she has not been issued with witness statements despite several appeals by her counsel to move the prosecution so that she can prepare her defense.
Kethi was charged in September last year alongside former IEBC official Godfrey Lempiso for the theft of a voter registration slip valued at Sh5. Her trial was meant to start in March after the chief magistrate ruled that the court did not have the jurisdiction to stop the proceedings. She asked Kethi’s defence team to contact the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for the documents her team wanted to rely on during trial. However Kethi’s defence team moved to the High Court after it accused the prosecution of disregarding a court order that was made on September 3 last year by the then Chief Magistrate Kiarie Waweru.
He further alleged that the Director of Public Prosecution’s office has failed to respond to 11 requests they had made over the supply of all witness statements and exhibits it seeks to rely on during trial.
Justice Mbogholi on Monday directed the matter to be mentioned on July 10 to confirm whether the orders have been complied with.