alexa Judge wants to know what ails Cliff Ombeta after skipping hearing - Daily Nation

Judge wants to know what ails Cliff Ombeta after skipping hearing

Thursday July 11 2019

Lawyer Cliff Ombeta. PHOTO | FILE | NATION

Lawyer Cliff Ombeta. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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A judge has directed the prosecution to inquire what ails lawyer Cliff Ombeta, who has caused the delay of the hearing of the murder case of Willie Kimani and two others.

A report tabled in court showed that he was taken ill on Sunday night and went to Nairobi Hospital where he was given painkillers and eye medication.

The doctor also recommended a rest of four days.

Justice Lesiit said that the court and other parties were left in the dark, not knowing his condition and when he will be ready to proceed with the case.

The Judge said, alternatively, Mr Ombeta can present himself in court on Friday to explain his condition.

NGUGI'S CONFESSION

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The court was ready to hear a confession made by one of the accused persons.

In May, Justice Lesiit, allowed the prosecution to use confession made Mr Peter Ngugi as part of the evidence in the trial.

Mr Ombeta represents three accused persons in the trial.

Four police officers, Fredrick Leliman, Mr Stephen Cheburet, Ms Sylvia Wanjiku and Mr Leonard Maina Mwangi and Mr Ngugi, an alleged police informer have denied murdering Mr Kimani, Joseph at Mwenda and Mr Joseph Mururi, taxi driver.

The three were kidnapped after leaving the Mavoko Law Courts on June 23, 2016.

Their bodies were recovered one week later, at River Athi, near Donyo Sabuk.

The three are suspected to have been tortured to death and their bodies stashed in gunny bags and thrown into the river.

'CONFESSION VOLUNTARY'

Mr Ngugi's confession details how Mr Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and a taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were tortured to death and their bodies thrown into a river.

Mr Ngugi had opposed the use of the 21-page statement, which he made before Chief Inspector Geoffrey Kinyua on August 9, 2016 at DCI headquarters, saying that he was tortured.

He also said through his lawyer Neilias Kinyori that he was induced with promises of a monthly fee of Sh30,000 plus other benefits had he cooperated with the police.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Mutuku told Justice Lesiit that the confession by Ngugi was made voluntarily.

In the ruling, after conducting a mini-trial, Justice Lesiit ruled that the confession complied the rules of evidence and should be admitted as part of the evidence.

Some 38 witnesses have so far testified and about five, mostly police officers, are the remaining witnesses before the prosecution closes the case.

Justice Lesiit had set 10 days, beginning Monday July 8, for the trial.