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Sharon Otieno murder: Why suspects want justice Lesiit out

Wednesday May 29 2019

Sharon Otieno murder suspects

Migori Governor Okoth Obado (R), his personal assistant Michael Oyamo (C) and County Clerk Casper Obiero in a Nairobi Court on May 29, 2019, during the hearing of an application for judge Jessie Lessit to recuse herself from the case. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Two people charged with the murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno on Wednesday submitted arguments following their call for Jessie Lesiit to recuse herself from the case.

Ms Otieno, the girlfriend of Migori Governor Okoth Obado, was brutally murdered on the night of September 3, 2018 while seven months pregnant.

In their applications, Governor Obado's personal assistant Michael Oyamo and county clerk Casper Obiero said comments by the judge, who denied them bond, caused them to believe their trial would be unfair.

PRECONCEPTION

The two said the judge applied different standards in releasing Mr Obado on bail and denying them their freedom for security concerns.

Mr Oyamo and Mr Obiero were granted freedom in December 2018 after the Court of Appeal reversed the decision denying them bond, but it was not until April 2 that Mr Obiero was let out.

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Mr Obiero said the court appeared to have made up its mind yet they had not been mentioned anywhere in statements and witnesses had not testified.

“Our application is specific. It is predicated on comments made by the court,” he said.

PUBLIC REACTIONS

Mr Oyamo noted that the court found that releasing him was likely to disturb public order and peace.

He argued, however, that the finding by the court was not premised on evidence because there was nothing on record regarding public reactions during his arrest.

The suspect noted that he presented himself to police so the issue of public reactions does not arise.

“From the foregoing, it appears the court has a preconceived mind about my involvement in this case,” he said in a sworn statement.

Mr Obado, who is charged with the murder, said he had no problem with justice Lesiit handling the case.

NO PROOF

Assistant DPP Catherine Mwaniki opposed the application for justice Lesiit's recusal saying the two had not submitted evidence of bias.

Ms Mwaniki also asked why they raised the matter late in the day and noted that they appealed against the decision and were released.

The three have denied murdering 26-year-old Ms Otieno and her unborn baby at Owade in Rachuonyo Sub-county, Homa Bay County.

Justice Lesiit will rule on the matter on July 19.