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Kimani case: State, judge question Ombeta illness

Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMuhindi

High Court judge Jessie Lesiit yesterday allowed the prosecution to probe the medical documents tabled in court to show lawyer Cliff Ombeta was ailing.

The murder trial of five people accused of killing lawyer Willy Kimani and two others failed to kick off yesterday following Ombeta’s medical report which showed he went to Nairobi Hospital and was given painkillers and eye medication.

Ombeta is representing three police officers who were charged alongside a police informer with murdering the three. Police officers represented by Ombeta are Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet and Sylvia Wanjiku.  Their co-accused are Leonard Maina Mwangi and Peter Kamau alias Brown, who is the police informer.

The court was ready to hear a confession by one of the accused but Ombeta through lawyer Doreen Kalii who was holding his brief, told the court that he was unwell and produced the medical report. She asked the court to adjourn the matter to Monday to allow Ombeta to go and explain himself and furnish more detailed medical documents

“The accused have confidence with Ombeta and are ok waiting for him. I apologise for the delays and Ombeta will come on Monday to explain himself better,” she told the court.

Reasonable suspicion

Assistant director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Mutuku opposed the application saying the conduct of Ombeta raised reasonable suspicion.

“We want to conduct an inquiry, the doctor has not disclosed any diagnosis as regards to Ombeta’s illness and only some painkillers were given. Since report discloses the name of the doctor then we need a proper inquiry,” he told the court.

Justice Lesiit agreed with the prosecution noting that what was brought to court shows Ombeta was given only painkillers and that he ought to have given proper information regarding his condition.

She allowed the prosecution to go ahead and probe the documents from Ombeta and directed the matter to be mentioned today for Ombeta to give the proper diagnosis. Alternatively, the judge ruled that Ombeta can present himself in court today to explain his condition.

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