Television journalist Jacque Maribe and her fiancé Joseph Irungu will remain in custody until tomorrow when the court will fix hearing dates for their bail applications.
Appearing before Justice Jessie Lesiit of Milimani High Court Criminal Division, the couple pleaded not guilty to the murder of Monica Kimani. This follows last week’s court order for mental assessment of Maribe and medical treatment for Irungu.
They both answered to the murder charge after the prosecution, through Senior State Counsel Catherine Mwaniki, informed the court that Maribe had been ascertained fit to stand trial.
Wearing a green skirt suit and white blouse, Maribe was led into the courtroom by prison warders from Lang’ata Women’s Prison while Irungu was fronted by guards from Industrial Area Remand Prison where they had been remanded since Tuesday.
At one point, Irungu broke down in court before the session began as his mother embraced him minutes before taking plea.
Maribe, on the other hand, had her father and mother as well as friend Dennis Itumbi for support. After denying the charges, Irungu’s lawyers Mugambi Laichena, Cliff Ombeta and Sam Nyaberi asked the court to ensure they are furnished with all documents and exhibits that the prosecution will rely on.
Katwa Kigen for Maribe also requested for close hearing dates, all prosecution documents, investigation diary and investigation officers’ statements.
The defence team also requested for the trial dates to be declared. The prosecution promised to supply defence with some of the witness statements and exhibits within two weeks, adding that they intend to put some key witnesses under Witness Protection Agency before they can supply their statements.
Mwaniki, however, did not object to the request to have the matter given early trial dates as requested by Maribe’s lawyer.
Justice Lesiit directed that the victim’s family file and serve their application seeking to bar the two accused persons on bail before midday today.
Kigen wanted the mention of the bail application be done immediately after plea taking, arguing that the accused have been in custody for the last two weeks.
“We very kindly requesting you for accelerated dates if it’s not possible to have the mention for bail application today afternoon. The accused persons have been in custody for the last 15 days,” he said.
The prosecution said they intend to oppose the release of the two on bail pending the hearing and determination of the case.
In an affidavit filed in court by Investigating Officer Maxwell Otieno, the prosecution claims there is high probability the two accused persons will interfere with ongoing investigations if released.
Otieno further says Monica’s residence as well as that of Maribe have been identified to be the primary and secondary crime scenes respectively, hence, the accused persons could tamper with the ongoing probe.