Video allowed in Bett demolition case

Busia

By Evelyn Kwamboka

An attempt by a minister to block viewing of video evidence in court regarding the demolition of a Sh100 million has been dismissed.

Roads Minister Franklin Bett’s application was thrown out on grounds it was aimed at delaying the case in which businessman Mike Maina Kamau wants him jailed for disobeying a court order.

High Court judge Justice Jeanne Gacheche yesterday said the minister should have made the application on March 9 when he was served with a copy of the video clip.

The judge made the ruling in the Chambers and proceeded to open court, where the video recording by a local TV station was played.

The video was aimed at verifying the minister’s veracity in his affidavit he filed in court.

In the application, the minister wanted the court not to play the tape before the Director of Film at the Ministry of Information Ernest Kerich is allowed to process it.

Prepare report

Through Senior State Counsel Wanjiku Mbiyu, the minister said this would have allowed the officer to prepare a report on the authenticity of the recording.

Kamau’s advocate Ochieng Oduol opposed the application on grounds that the minister wanted to derail the case.

"There is no provision in our laws allowing evidence to be subjected to verification before it is tendered," he said.

At the open court, the video evidence was played and the minister then cross-examined based on oral and written evidence he had given the court.

In the video clip, a man said to be Mr John Mburu, an advocate, was captured trying to serve a person said to be the minister with a copy of the court order stopping the demolition.

The minister had indicated in his affidavit in court that he learnt about the court order after the house in Nairobi’s Spring Valley had already been completely demolished. "Do I rely on copies or originals? I have seen people in the past coming with court orders after committing offences," he said.

The Roads minister to the court that he did not have an appointment with Mr Mburu, who was allegedly present at the scene to serve him with the court order.