Lawyers representing TV journalist Jacque Maribe have adopted a new strategy that seeks to completely delink her from the September 19 murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani.
In an affidavit filed in court yesterday, Maribe also dissociates herself from the activities of her fiancé Joseph Irungu alias Jowie before, during and after the murder of Monica inside her apartment on Dennis Pritt Road in Nairobi’s Kilimani area.
Maribe filed her affidavit on a day Monica’s brother George Kimani in another affidavit for his family objected to the duo’s release on bail, claiming there is high probability they will interfere with ongoing investigations and thus derail the course of justice.
The victim’s family further argues the witnesses expected to testify against the two may be intimidated before the prosecution can extract the information they require and their safety is not guaranteed.
Maribe filed the application after the prosecution, through lead investigator Maxwell Otieno, also filed an affidavit asking the court not to grant Irungu and the journalist bail.
The counter-accusations came even as High Court judge James Wakiaga ruled that Maribe and Irungu would remain in custody until October 24, when their bail application would be heard.
Justice Wakiaga will now preside over the trial, taking over from Justice Jessie Lesiit, who handled the matter when it came up for plea taking before allocating it to be tried in another court.
“I direct that this matter be heard before another judge in this division,” directed Justice Lesiit. When the matter came up for mention before him, Wakiaga directed that the parties appear for bail application hearing next Wednesday.
Being the Head of the Criminal Division of the High Court, Lesiit has the discretion to allocate any matter to a different court or judge in the division after the accused persons plead to charges.
The division has five judges — Lesiit, Wakiaga, Luka Kimaru, Stella Mutuku and Ngenye Macharia.
In her court papers, Maribe claims there are no compelling reasons to deny her bail, adding that she was not involved in the gruesome murder, was not at the crime scene and had no prior knowledge of the deceased.
“I had no motive to kill the deceased. I did not participate directly or indirectly in it. No motive is alleged with regard to me,” reads the court documents. Maribe further claims she will not interfere with ongoing investigations.
“I pray for consideration of Sh350,000 cash bail and one or two sureties of a similar amount as I undertake to comply with all the terms imposed by the court,”she says.
The journalist argued that since her arrest on September 29, she has cooperated with investigators and will continue to do so even when granted bail.
“I have surrendered myself, availed my car, handed over my house, handed over my phone, cooperated for DNA tests all without any summons to appear and/or warrants to search and/or warrants to seize,” reads the affidavit filed through her lawyer Katwa Kigen.
In the 12-page affidavit, the journalist argues that she has not been in contact with any of the prosecution witnesses hence would not interfere with the investigations and further states that she is not a flight risk and that, if need be, is willing to deposit her passport with the court.
“In good faith, I express my sympathies to the family of the deceased and pray for their peace of mind. May the deceased rest in peace,” she adds.
Maribe further argues that the reasons she is standing trial is because of her relationship with Irungu, who the prosecution have an interest in, who she allowed live with her and use her vehicle.
“I am a well-known TV journalist. Most Kenyans are conversant with my job and can easily spot me anywhere, therefore, making it impossible for me to jump bail,” reads the court documents.
Maribe, who has been in custody for 16 days, says she does not have a criminal record and does not intend to travel outside of the court’s jurisdiction if granted bail. She further agues that her son who is of a tender age will suffer if she is denied bail.
“I am a single mother of a child aged four years who solely depends on me for social and financial upkeep. The child is of tender age and will deeply suffer if I remain in custody,” says Maribe. “I pray for release on bail in the name of the presumption of right that I am entitled to, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
Maribe also presented to the court an affidavit detailing the events of the night of September 19 when her fiancé allegedly shot himself in her house in Lang’ata, Nairobi.
Justice Wakiaga ordered the probation office to prepare a pre-bail report and serve the defence lawyers before October 23 to allow them more time to comment on the same and at the same time granted Irungu’s lawyers Sam Nyaberi and Mugambi Laichena more time to file a supplementary affidavit in response to prosecution’s argument that the accused should not be released on bail.
Kigen for Maribe, however, said that they intend to file more affidavits if need be.
Meanwhile, Justice Wakiaga warned the media against sensational reporting, saying it could jeopardise the case, adding that any media outlet found to be giving misleading information about the case would be held accountable for the same.
“Let us be moderate I take great exception I am an old school judge who believes in blunt justice and…when I’m influenced before I hear a case I get upset,” said the judge.
The lawyer for Kimani family also said they have lodged similar complaints about the media.
“Those statements you keep on telling us about what has been done, what has not been done and money that has not been recovered, you stop writing about them,” said the judge.
The warning was issued after that a local newspaper reported alleged detention of Monica at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport upon arrival from Juba the day she was killed.
The judge asked Catherine Mwaniki whether her team had been leaking sensitive details of the case to the media but she said she was not aware who has been talking to the media.
“Tell these guys of the press that my attitude towards them is a little bit negative. Have you told them? I don’t like these kinds of things in my court,” said Wakiaga. “In as much as there is a right to information, we also need to work in a more private manner,” he added.