Prosecution wants Maribe off TV screens

Journalist Jacque Maribe and her fiancé Joseph Irungu alias Jowie will remain in remand until October 30, when the High Court will rule on  their bail application.

The two, appearing before Justice James Wakiaga, pleaded afresh to the charge of murdering businesswoman Monica Kimani on September 19. The fresh plea was necessitated by the amendment of charge sheet to include other suspects not in court.

The prosecution objected the duo’s release on bail on grounds that they could interfere with witnesses.

Senior State counsel Catherine Mwaniki said if released, Maribe could  intimidate key witnesses given her status as a renowned journalist and her association with high-profile individuals and politicians.

Consequently, the State wants Maribe barred from appearing on TV screens if released on bail as doing so would “cause fear” among witnesses testifying against her.

“I urge you to consider that Maribe is a celebrity and if released on bail, the court should give alternative conditions to ensure she does not intimidate witnesses,” Mwaniki told Justice Wakiaga, adding that Maribe’s link to top politicians, some of whom have been appearing in court to support her, would intimidate witnesses.

But her lawyer Katwa Kigen said his client should not be denied the right to make a livelihood based on prosecution’s allegations.

On Irungu, the prosecution termed him a flight risk, based on his nature of work that has in the past seen him travel to and stay in the Middle East.

Mwaniki further informed the court that he has not been cooperating with the police in the case, and most of the  information he provided was not true.

“Unless the court gives a conducive environment to fair trial by detaining the two, the witnesses will not testify in the case. The court has the duty to rule into rights of the accused and the deceased,” she said.

The prosecution said Irungu should be closely supervised as he is “a danger to himself and others” as he tried to shoot himself after Monica’s killing.

“Liberty of an individual is precious and zealously protected by the court and the same is not absolute as the court has to balance the interest of the accused and deceased family,” said Mwaniki.

However, defence lawyers Kigen and Cliff Ombeta opposed the prosecution’s argument, saying it has not tabled compelling reasons to deny their clients bail.

Monica’s body was found in a bathtub in her Nairobi’s Kilimani house, with her through slit. Irungu was positively identified as the last person seen leaving her apartment.

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