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High Court suspends Imenti Central MP Gideon Mwiti's rape case

KENYA
By Kamau Muthoni | August 11th 2015
Imenti Central MP Gideon Mwiti in the dock at Milimani Law Court where he denied rape charges and assaulting a woman. [PHOTO/GEORGE NJUNGE/Standard]

The High Court has suspended the rape trial of Imenti Central Member of Parliament Gideon Mwiti.

High Court judge Weldon Korir stopped the case in the magistrate’s court to allow the MP to challenge the legality of his prosecution.

Hearing of the case in the lower court was to start on August 19, but will now await the outcome of the application by Mwiti (pictured) challenging his trial.

“The case in the magistrate’s court has been suspended until further orders by this court,” Justice Korir ruled yesterday.

The MP is seeking to bar the complaint’s lawyers from being enjoined in the rape case. The MP claims that the lawyer for the victim is acting as co-prosecutor which is contrary to the law.

Mr Mwiti wants the court to issue temporary orders barring the complaint’s lawyers Muciimi Waibaka and Teresia Omondi from tendering evidence or submitting in the rape case.

“The party mandated under the Constitution to prosecute on behalf of the State is the DPP who has the power to delegate and also has duties to be in full control of prosecutions,” Mwiti said in the court papers.

“The victim can only a send a lawyer to watch brief and not acting as prosecutor,” the court heard.

The MP further told the court that the complaint’s lawyers have allegedly tampered with evidence which is likely to reduce chances of a fair trial, arguing that the lawyers had recorded statements as witnesses in the case.

At the same time, the complainant accused the MP of prosecuting the case through the media. The woman’s lawyer Wilfred Nderitu sought to have the court order The Standard to disclose the source of a recent story it published touching on the case.

Nderitu argued that the story on medical report could influence the case to the detriment of the complainant. However, lawyer John Khaminwa, representing Mwiti, poked holes in the argument and said the media has a right to pass information to the public.

“The question is if a journalist has a right to access records of a victim who is under protection and then invokes media freedom,” Mr Nderitu argued.

In response Dr Khaminwa said: “We cannot stop the media from doing what they do even if we dislike them. Any person who has access to the truth has a right to tell it”.

The prosecution alleges that on March 21, 2015 the legislator raped and intimidated the married woman.

The mention at the High Court will be on September 18.

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