, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 25 – The High Court has summoned three newspaper reporters and their editors who are accused of breaching court reporting guidelines in the murder trial of television journalist Jackie Maribe and her ex-fiancé Joseph Irungu, alias Jowie.
The journalists are required to appear before Justice James Wakiaga on Wednesday.
Catherine Mwaniki, who is the Lead Prosecutor in the trial of businesswoman Monica Kimani’s murder in September last year told the court on Tuesday the Daily Nation and the Star’s June 25 reportage could jeopardize the prosecution’s case.
Mwaniki also applied to have the press barred from covering the trial of Maribe and Jowie which commenced on Tuesday.
A protected witness is among the first expected to testify in court.
“Four of the witnesses are protected while five will be expert witnesses,” Mwaniki told the court on June 11.
The court on June 18 denied Jowie bail for the second time saying his application will only be considered after protected witnessed have testified.
Maribe and Irungu were charged on October 15 before Justice Jessie Lessit with the murder of Monica, who was found dead at her Lamuria Gardens Apartment in Kilimani on September 19.
Her lifeless body was found in the bathtub with her throat slit. The deceased had just returned from Juba where she had business interests.
Justice Lessit had referred the matter to Justice Wakiaga who heard bail applications by the two on October 24.
Justice Wakiaga on October 30 dismissed Jowie’s first application for bail citing the lack of a known address as a pointer to the possibility of him absconding future court appearances.
“The picture that emerges from the Prosecution’s evidence and the pre-bail report of the first accused (Irungu) is that he is a male version of a slay queen which for lack of better terminology I will call a woman eater,” Justice Wakiaga said.
“He was living in the house of the second accused (Maribe), driving her car with no known source of income since 2017 when he provided security to some Jubilee Party politicians,” the judge went on to explained.
Maribe’s application was however allowed at the time, Justice Wakiaga directing her to execute a Sh2 million surety bail with an alternative of a Sh1 million cash bail with three sureties of a similar amount.
The two held been held in police custody for a month following arrests on September 29.
During the bail hearing on October 30, it emerged that Maribe was not intending to go back to the house where she was living with Irungu at the time of her arrest.
It is based on the revelation that Justice Wakiaga concluded that Irungu had no alternative accommodation given the fact that he was living in Maribe’s house.
“Whereas the first accused (Irungu) has indicated that his siblings are likely to find him an alternative accommodation, there’s no evidence placed before this court to support this preposition,” Justice Wakiaga outlined.
“The first accused has no known assets in the country say for an intention to set up a private security firm. I therefore find him to be with not fixed aboard, lacking any deep emotional occupation or family ties in the country and is likely to abscond should need arise,” he added.
Maribe has distanced herself from Monica’s murder telling the court in a 35-point affidavit filed on October 17 that her relations with Irungu were purely romantic.
She questioned the rationale used by the prosecution to prefer charges against her as unfair terming her linking to Monica’s murder as “wholly weak circumstantial association.”
“Without a doubt the 1st accused (Irungu) was my fiancé. I the circumstances, I definitely communicated with him. It is most unfair to use the communication between me and the 1st accused in the given circumstances of our then existing relationship as a reason to withhold bail,” she had argued.
Maribe told the court she believed the only reason she was standing trial for the murder of Kimani was because “I was in a love relationship with a person the prosecution have an interest in,” and that she allowed Irungu to come live in her house, and gave him access to her car.
She stated that the prosecution had neither witness accounts nor forensic material associating her either directly or indirectly with the murder of Monica, a person she insisted she had no knowledge of.
“I had no motive to kill the deceased. I didn’t participate directly or indirectly in it. No motive is alleged with regard to me,” she averred.