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Case against judge put off

NAIROBI November 26 – A case against High Court Judge George Kariuki failed to take off on Wednesday after the prosecution told the court that the file had been referred to the Attorney General for directions.

Chief Inspector David Wangai who is prosecuting the case said he couldn’t proceed because that the Provincial Criminal Investigations Office had sent the file to the AG and sought a further mention date.

But defence Lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga objected to the application alleging that the court was being used as ‘a holding ground’.

“The police should have sought the AG’s advice before charging my client, an honourable judge, in a dramatic and humiliating manner. I believe that this application is in bad faith,” he told the trial magistrate.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei slammed the prosecution for negligence, directing it to take the case seriously and gave a tentative hearing date of the case on January 26 and 27 next year.

This is ahead of a mention on January 5 to confirm the status of the file.

Justice Kariuki is charged with attempted murder following an incident where he allegedly stabbed a motorist, Robert Karori on the outskirts of Nairobi following an argument that resulted from an accident involving his official car.

He denied the charge when he appeared before Nairobi Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Muketi on October 22 and was set free by the court on a personal bond of Sh500,000 commonly referred to as ‘free bond’.

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The prosecution accused him of attempted murder contrary to section 220(a) of the penal code. 

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.”

Second judge to be charged

He is 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 accused of 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.

The judge, who served the judiciary for 27 years, however opted to resign two weeks after he was charged.

To date, no action has however been announced against the justice GBM Kariuki because 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.

Based on the penal code, if found guilty of attempted murder, Justice Kariuki could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The alleged victim was discharged from MP Shah Hospital where he had undergone treatment for a stab wound to his stomach.

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