Chief Magistrate faults High Court order, declines to halt DCJ Mwilu’s prosecution

Milimani Magistate Lawrence Mugambi who  is presiding over DCJ Philomena Mwilu's corruption and forgery case. [George Njunge, Standard]

In a day of high legal drama, Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi has declined to halt Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu's prosecution hours after High Court Judge Chacha Mwita stayed it.

Magistrate Mugambi has  ruled that the orders by High Court temporarily blocking the DCJ’s case do not apply to the case before him.

“I don’t want to amend the orders of the court, that will be trespassing on dangerous areas. I am only guided by an order that is clear and specific. So this order, in my view, does not apply to this case,” ruled Magistrate Mugambi.

It later transpired that the  case number on the stay order was different from the case number of the matter before the magistrate.

The High Court had suspended DCJ Philomena Mwilu’s case until constitutional issues surrounding it were resolved.

Judge Chacha Mwita ruled that there were constitutional questions to be addressed in the petition, especially on grounds that it was a commercial matter and whether it can lead to the arrest of a judge. He ruled the matter will remain pending until October 9, 2018.

Justice Mwilu had on Wednesday morning filed a petition at the High Court challenging her prosecution. She also said that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had no powers to arrest her.

The  top judge is facing several charges of forgery, abuse of office and unlawful failure to pay taxes. She was Wednesday morning arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court to take a plea.

Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi referred orders suspending prosecution of DCJ Philomena Mwilu back to High Court Judge Chacha Mwita for a correction of the  case number.

He maintained Sh5 million personal bond for the DCJ and ordered parties to appear before him on Friday August 31 at 11am.

On serving the order, Orengo had told the court: "Now we have no alternative but to down our tools the tools of the Deputy Director of Public   Prosecutions [Dorcas Oduor].

But dismissing Mr Orengo's  submission,  the magistrate said: " I take this order as it is. It cannot be the one to stop this case."

Mr Orengo had begged for a stay of the  despite the error arguing that the technicality on which it was decline was a human error  therefore not of substance.

The magistrate directed the lawyers to go back to the High Court and  amend the application for the stay.

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Chief Magistrate Lawrence MugambiDeputy Chief Justice Philomena MwiluDPPCorruption