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Judge accused of attempted murder

NAIROBI, October 21 – High Court judge G.B.M Kariuki was charged with attempted murder on Tuesday morning following a weekend incident where a motorist was stabbed on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital.

The judge however denied the charge when he appeared before Nairobi Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Muketi.

Justice Kariuki, who spent a night in custody following his arrest on Monday afternoon, was set free by the court on a personal bond of Sh500,000 commonly referred to as ‘free bond’.

The prosecution accused him of attempted murder contrary to section 220(a) of the penal code and the particulars of the offence read: “On the 18th day of October, 2008 along Lower Kabete Road in Spring Valley area within Nairobi, (George Kariuki) unlawfully attempted to cause the death of Robert Karori by stabbing him on the stomach with a sharp object.”

When the charge was read by the court clerk, Justice Kariuki who was represented by lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga pleaded: “Not guilty.”

He is due back in court on November 26 for the hearing of the case.

He becomes the second sitting judge to face a criminal offence while still in office. The first judge to face criminal charges was Justice Samuel Oguk who was charged with obtaining money by false pretences.

Justice Oguk was charged on January 24, 2003 with allegedly fraudulently obtaining a cheque of Sh520, 000 from Ponnangipalli Venkatta Rao, trading as Tack Consultancy.

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Justice Oguk who served the judiciary for 27 years however opted to resign two weeks after he was charged.

In the case of Justice Kariuki, it’s yet to be known what action might follow, since the law is silent on judges who face criminal offences. According to the constitution a judge can only be removed from office after a tribunal has been formed to investigate his or her conduct.

If found guilty of the charge of attempted murder, the judge could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The alleged victim remains at the MP Shah Hospital where he is undergoing treatment for a stab wound to his stomach.

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