Witnesses to testify in Camera in Mpeketoni case
09 October 2014, 20:52
Nairobi - Lawyer representing two men charged with the murder of over 60 people in Mpeketoni has rejected the application by the state to have witnesses testify in camera terming the act as unfair and prejudicial to the accused.
The defense Lawyers A.B Olaba and Gerald Magolo objected the application made by the office of DPP saying it was undermining the accused constitutional right to a fair trial.
Magolo said the state should have made a formula application why the need to conceal the identities of the witnesses if any.
He said article 50 of the Kenya constitution provides for a fair public hearing for all the accused persons before the court of law.
“What the prosecution is requesting for is to cartel the rights of the accused as enshrined in the constitution without giving any valid reason” said Magolo
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Magolo said there was an effort by the state to have the accused trail conducted in privacy without the involvement of the public yet the case was of great interest to the members of the public which will prejudice the accused.
Lawyer AB Olaba said the state had not given any reason to justify the testifying of the witnesses in camera.
He said the matter was of great interest to Kenyan public and had caught the imagination of the head of state and the international community.
“This is the first time in Kenya people are charged with being involved with clashes and the Kenyan people want to see what kind of evidence will be adduced against the two” said Olaba
He said if the witnesses were speaking the truth they should not fear to appear before the full glare of the public and testify before the caught.
The assistant director of public prosecution Edwin Okello made an application under witness act before justice Muya to have four witnesses testify in camera.
“Your honor because of the sensitivity of the matter and the ongoing curfew in Lamu and for a fair trial we make an application to have four witnesses testify before camera” said Okello
Okello said the investigation officer had informed him that the situation in Lamu County is not friendly.
The accused Swaleh Shebe and Kimani Chege Kimani are jointly charged with others not before court with the murder of 12 people on the night of July 5 and 6 in Hindu location Lamu County
Justice Martin Muya directed that the DPP make a formal application under the witness protection act for those witnesses who will not want their names be published and images captured in the media.
The case will be come for hearing on November 17 and 18 2014.
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