Court stops proceedings to allow key witness heal from trauma of father's death

Court orderlies together with prosecutor Faith Koech carry a witness who fainted in High Court Kakamega while testifying on the death of her father. Looking on is Justice Patrick Otieno. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The High Court in Kakamega was forced to stop proceedings when a key witness could not bear recollecting the grave details of the murder of her father in July last year. 

During the Friday, October 28 incident, Josephine Kigasha fainted while telling how her former lover, Collins Oluoch walked into their Hamisi home in Vihiga and bludgeoned to death her father before her very own eyes. 

“After we separated a year back and I moved to my father’s place, Oluoch made it a habit to pass by to abuse me. On that material day my father requested to know why he lacked respect for my family and me,” testified Kigasha who separated from the lover, a resident of the next village. 

“He turned on my father with vulgar abuse. I told my father that he (Oluoch) was a vile and vengeful man and asked him to ignore him. My father heeded my call but as he was going on with his chores of cutting Napier grass, Oluoch kicked him in the stomach before picking a huge stick from the ground and landing him a blow on the back of his head.” 

Ms Kigasha, 24, could, later on, explain that she ran to rescue her father from the wrath of his son-in-law but also suffered a beating as he hit her on the right hand almost severing her fingers. She retreated as she wailed. 

Collins Oluoch in the accused dock at the High Court in Kakamega. He is charged with murdering his father-in-law Wycliffe Riani on July 25, 2022, [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Oluoch, 30, appeared not done according to Kigasha; "He delivered yet another blow on my father’s right hand and left him sprawling on the ground and bleeding profusely.” 

After he realised that a crowd was forming as Kigasha and her other relatives screamed, he took off. 

“A Good Samaritan arrived with a motorbike and we placed my father on it to Mbale Hospital," Kigasha said amidst sobs before collapsing in the witness stand immediately she uttered the words ... "We were told by the doctors that he was dead at the hospital lobby." 

This forced two court orderlies, State lawyer Faith Koech and the investigation officer in the case Moses Biwott to help carry her out of the court for first aid. 

Justice Patrick Otieno who'd tried to calm the witness down as she was being overcome by emotions through her testimony then ordered the court for a short break to allow her time to compose herself.

Faith Koech a State Lawyer and Investigating officer Moses Biwott console Josephine Kigasha (in an orange T-shirt) outside the High Court in Kakamega after she collapsed in court during her testimony. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

After about 40 minutes, the court was called to session, but then state lawyer Ms Koech pronounced that her witness could not stand testifying. 

"She has been overcome by emotions and is rightly not in a proper state to testify in the matter today. We've tried to calm her down to no avail and pray that we get another date for the case to allow her time to heal," Koech pleaded. "She's traumatised."

Justice Otieno allowed the application, appreciating that the situation was indeed "heavy" for Kigasha and gave December 21 as the next hearing date. 

All the while, Kigasha's former lover, Oluoch, who is believed to have murdered her father, sat on the stand listening to her testimony and watched her being ferried outside for first aid. 

Kigasha’s mother, one of the witnesses in the case, succumbed to high blood pressure in March. 

[email protected]