A defamation case on homosexuality, involving Anglican Church Bishop Joseph Kagunda and three clerics, will now be resolved outside court by a mediator.
Justice Abigail Mshilla, of the High Court in Nyeri, on Wednesday summoned two lead lawyers in the dispute to her chambers and advised them to try the alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
Reverend Paul Warui, Archdeacon John Gachau and Reverend James Maigua filed a defamation suit in 2015 against the bishop of the Mt Kenya West Diocese..
They had been suspended over allegations of engaging in homosexuality three years ago but were exonerated by the court.
They filed the suit arguing they suffered psychological trauma following their ex-communication from church and the claims about their sexuality.
The judge suspended the hearing and ordered that the file be referred to an accredited mediator.
The clerics, through lawyer David Onsare, said they want Mr Kagunda compelled to apologise in writing in the local dailies and compensate them for defamation.
When the case came up for hearing on Wednesday, Justice Mshilla observed the need for the parties to try settling their dereferences outside the court.
Mr Onasre and the church’s lawyer Wachira Nderitu did not reject the advice but asked for time to select a mediator.
The two lawyers were given a list of six accredited mediators in Nyeri - David Mwaure Waihiga, Lucy Waruguru Mwai, Charles Migwi, Lydiah Wambui Wakahu, Joakim Mulama Oundo and Rose Wanjiku Muturi.
One of them will help the parties settle the case and file the agreement in court, for the judge to record as its order.
If the mediation fails, the court will hear and determine the matter.
Four witnesses, including Lay Canon Wilfred Gichuki Nderitu and three young men from the church, were to testify yesterday in defence of the Bishop. They did not since the two sides allowed the option of mediation.
The three priests were reinstated, after the Labour court quashed the bishop’s decision to suspend them, and awarded Sh6.8 million as compensation.
The case will be mentioned on November 30 for the lawyers to confirm selection of the mediator and for directions on the process to be given.