NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Deputy President William Ruto’s defence team scored a number of wins on Thursday when it more than poked holes into Prosecution Witness P0487’s testimony.
Defence counsel David Hooper tore into the testimony of the witness for the second day scoring his first win when he managed, through a laugh, to get the witness to admit that it was ridiculous for him to claim that Ruto’s trademark cap bore a coded message of hate against the Kikuyu.
“You recognise that hat, I take it? Do you recognise the hat? Secret hat?”
(Laughter from the witness)
“You laugh but that’s what it was yesterday,” Hooper managed before Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji cut in.
He was however able to get a verbal confirmation later on from the witness that, “it’s a very nice hat (and) you can’t raise any objection to this hat.”
This was after he pulled out a cap similar in character to that favoured by the Deputy President when he’s not donning a suit and tie.
The witness was also forced to admit that he was wrong about the venue of a rally at which he claimed he’d heard Ruto say, “Kikuyu people will be put in a pickup and be taken back to Central.”
That rally Hooper proved, was held at Huruma and not 64 Stadium as the witness had alleged, through news footage aired by a Kenyan television station on December 20, 2007.
And after the witness was also unable to decisively say who spoke at the rally, Hooper accused him of lying:
“In November last year for whatever advantage you may have received you went to the Prosecutor, you, and you made up a story about being at a rally.”
“And you knew you had to say something bad about Mr Ruto. You did. But you got the rally wrong, you got the words wrong, you made it up didn’t you?”
And if a reaction was what Hooper was looking for he got it when the previously soft-spoken witness threw back, “you played a very short script, you should have played the whole script (sic).”
Up until this point Hooper had employed a deceptively unassuming interrogation technique but took on a more condescending tone when the witness began giving more guarded answers; sticking to, “I do not recall exactly, it was five year’s ago,” when the Queen’s Counsel prompted him for exact details.
Once he wrapped-up his cross-examination however, Hooper – in a more amiable tone – sought to make peace with the witness.
“That’s the end of my questioning of you, thank you for your courteous replies to me, we have our differences, you know what they are and I wish you well.”
The witness will now undergo re-examination by the prosecution on Friday morning before the three-judge bench hears arguments on the protection measures that should be accorded the prosecution’s sixth witness P0286.
The Victims and Witness Unit had recommended that the witness’ testimony be given behind closed doors due to, “special circumstances.”