, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 17 – The hearing of an appeal by Nancy Baraza who is contesting a ruling that she is unfit to serve as the country’s Deputy Chief Justice has been adjourned, after her lawyer failed to show up.
Despite granting the adjournment to October 23, the Supreme Court issued a stern warning to lawyer Judith Guserwa that she should not disrespect the highest court in the land.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga pointed out that it was the lawyer who requested an early hearing and failed to understand why she failed to inform the court she would be absent during mention of the case last week.
“Her absence today is arrogance and negligence on her part. This court will not allow the counsel to treat it with disrespect or arrogance. This matter is of national interest and the court, in giving the counsel this date, was fully aware of this fact,” he said.
“This is the Supreme Court of Kenya, the apex court in this nation. Our schedule shall not be based on convenience of the counsel. Let this be heard loud and clear by counsel who intends to appear in this court!”
Earlier, while making an appearance for the defence, Solomon Wamwai informed the court that Guserwa had requested for a two-week adjournment as she was in Europe attending a retreat with the Law Society of Kenya.
Philip Murgor who appeared for the Tribunal that investigated and found Baraza unfit for office following an incident at the Village Market last year opposed the request to adjourn the case, explaining that it was a matter of public interest and wanted it disposed of at the earliest time possible.
According to the five judges, the Supreme Court could have rejected the appeal but because it is not Guserwa who is seeking justice, they decided to accept the application to adjourn.
However, Guserwa will now face the consequences of the adjournment.
“We have considered rejecting this application but we realise however it is not Guserwa who is seeking justice. We shall give justice to the appellant and make the following orders… Guserwa will personally pay the cost of this adjournment,” they ruled.
Baraza through her lawyer Kioko Kilukumi in August appealed against the decision of the tribunal that found her unfit to serve in the Judiciary after she was found guilty of threatening to shoot security guard Rebecca Kerubo, pinching her nose and causing a disturbance at the Village Market in December last year.
Until the Supreme Court makes a ruling on the matter, Baraza will remain suspended from the Judiciary.