NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – The Defence team of Deputy President William Ruto has expressed concern over the late inclusion of two new witnesses by the Prosecutor saying it is prejudicial to their case.
Led by lawyer Karim Khan on Monday, the team said that it will request for an adjournment of the trial if the statements made by the two witnesses have a large bearing on the case.
Khan argued that the Judges erred by allowing the Prosecutor to include the new witnesses at the 11th hour, denying the Defence a chance to review them and prepare adequately.
He added that the Defence does not know what charges the two witnesses would bring to the table and it was unfair for the Court to expect them to anticipate them.
“It is not for the Defence to anticipate every single option. It is for the Prosecution to state their case with clarity and that is why we have a confirmation,” he argued.
“Defence teams are being run ragged by late disclosure; run ragged by new allegations and are faced the day before with new witness statements.”
Khan urged the Judges to open the case so as to give time to the Defence team to review the new evidence before adjourning for the Defence to get certainty over the issues raised.
“We want to get the legal characterisation and the temporal scope of the charges before we get too far involved in this case. To do otherwise is to ask the Defence to fight a phantom,” he argued.
A senior trial lawyer for the Prosecution Anton Steynberg however said that the Prosecution would respond to the Defence when they ask for the adjournment.
He said that it was not possible to make the Prosecution’s position known yet because the Defence had not yet asked for the postponement.
“I’m not entirely sure to what I’m expected to reply because I didn’t hear any relief that was being prayed for. My understanding is that my learned friend is prepared to start with the trials tomorrow and that in due course he may apply for an adjournment so in due course I will respond,” he said.
Khan had also asked the Judges to ask the Prosecution to make available the order of calling the witnesses.
Steynberg however said that the schedule of calling the witnesses could change because some witnesses could drop out during the trial.
“The Prosecution intends to continue with the fourth witness and as far as possible follow the list of witnesses as set out. But I’ve already highlighted problems with witness Number 10 who at this stage seems will fall out and certain witnesses down the line,” he explained.