Justice Ojwang now requests for private hearing of case

Suspended Supreme Court Justice Jackton Boma Ojwang. [Standard]
Suspended Supreme Court judge Jackton Ojwang has requested for a private hearing, backtracking on his earlier wish for an open trial.

Justice Ojwang's lawyer, Nani Mungai, told the tribunal trying him on claims of graft and judicial misconduct that the judge was concerned that some “mischaracterisations” might occur if the trial took place under the full glare of the media.

The date for the hearings was set as July 15 with the tribunal announcing that it plans to determine the matter by end of July.

According to the tribunal's lead assisting counsel, Paul Nyamodi, the trial will rely on 22 witness statements.

Senior Counsel Lucy Kambuni, the deputy chair of the tribunal, said it was concerned about striking a balance between the duty of the tribunal to feed the public with information on its work and protecting Ojwang’s rights.

“We are expected also to give some information to the public, factual information so that the public can know that the work of the tribunal is going on,” she said.

Responding to the concerns, Ojwang's lawyer agreed on the need to reveal some details about the hearings but also laid out his client's reservations.

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“We expect that there ought to be some information given to the public, however, there are concerns that mischaracterisation might occur,” said Mungai.

It was also agreed that information disseminated to the public by the tribunal would also be vetted by Ojwang's counsel.

The tribunal had initially planned to be sitting four days a week from Monday to Thursday between 9am and 1pm, with reviews thereafter, but the parties failed to agree due to conflicting schedules.

This prompted the tribunal chair Alnashir Visram to extend the hearings by a day (Monday to Friday) to beat the end-of-July deadline.

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Jackton OjwangSupreme CourtNani MungaiPaul NyamidoAlnashir Visram