Lady Justice Lessit quashes recusal bid in Governor Obado’s murder trial

July 19, 2019 11:08 am
Lady Justice Lessit (pictured) said claims that she was biased against Obado and two co-accused persons in the case had not been proven in the said application for recusal/FILE – National Crime Research Centre

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 –  Lady Justice Jessie Lessit has declined an application to recuse herself from hearing a case in which Migori Governor Okoth Obado and two of his aides are accused of killing Rongo University student Sharon Otieno in September 2018.

Delivering her ruling on Friday, Lady Justice Lessit said claims that she was biased against Obado’s associates -Micheal Oyamo and Caspal Obiero – had not been proven in the application for recusal.

The two filed the application following the court’s refusal to release them on bail despite allowing Obado’s application.

Obado was released on a Sh5 million cash bail on October 24 after spending over a month in remand.

Lady Justice Lessit  imposed two sureties of Sh5 million each and ordered him to deposit his travel documents including all his passports in court.

“He who alleges must prove and in this case the two applicants have failed to prove bias of this Court,” she ruled.

“The applicants in this case have laboured on the wrong interpretation of the court’s ruling because other than apprehension of bias which is a state of mind no other ground has been advanced,” Lady Justice Lessit added.

Oyamo and Obiero claimed the judge had a fixed mind on the case.

The Judge further explained that there was no instance during the hearing that the she had made an adverse comment which would insinuate she had made up her mind on the outcome of the case.

They accused persons had sought Justice Lesit’s recusal on grounds that having previously denied them bail they are unlikely to get a fair trial.

Lady Justice Lessit however defended her decision to deny them bail saying it was premised on the likelihood of possible interference of potential witnesses.

Their release, she added, would send fear, anxiety and result in intimidation of the witnesses.

The court said Oyamo and Obiero had failed to prove conflict of interest on the part of the trial judge.

The prosecution and Otieno’s family had urged the court to dismiss the application arguing it was meant to delay and frustrate the case.

Oyamo and Obiero have denied murdering 26-year-old Otieno, an offence they allegedly committed between September 3 and 4 2018, at Owade area in Rachuonyo sub-county, Homa Bay County.

The two were also charged with the murder of the Rongo University Otieno’s unborn baby.

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