Drama as Khaminwa walks out of court in Sonko case

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 00:00 |
Lawyer John Khaminwa outside Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi, yesterday Photo/PD/CHARLES MATHAI

Veteran lawyer John Khaminwa yesterday withdrew from former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s Sh10 million corruption case accusing the trial magistrate of being biased.

Khaminwa told the media outside Milimani Law Courts that he took the decision after Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti declined his application to adjourn the matter to allow him get proper instructions from Sonko before the matter could proceed.

The lawyer, who walked out of the court proceedings cited bias on the part of the magistrate and not being furnished with proper documents as the reason for his move to leave the court session, while also questioning the decision by the court to exclude media from covering proceedings of the case.  

“I have left the court room. I do not think it will be fair for me to be party to proceedings where I don’t even have proper instructions from the former governor, and as such, I will not be of help to the former governor,” said Khaminwa.

He stated the trial against Sonko is unconstitutional as the magistrate has declined to allow the defence more time to prepare.

Khaminwa accused the magistrate of denying Sonko a fair trial by extending the proceedings up to night and also allowing protected witnesses to testify.

He wondered why the magistrate had barred the media from covering the matter yesterday, given that it is a public hearing.

 “Under Article 50 of the Constitution, the media represents the public and there is no way you can shut it out,” said the lawyer.  

However, the High Court early last year allowed the prosecution witnesses to testify behind closed doors. So far, 10 protected witnesses have testified in the case.

 Further, he claimed that one of the lawyers representing Sonko in the graft case had tested positive for the coronavirus and Sonko had lost his driver in an accident thereby the court would have allowed an adjournment.  

Khaminwa was hired by Sonko to replace his previous legal team that was led by lawyer Cecil Miller and George Kithi who abandoned the case following disagreements with the court in December 2020.

Now only Assa Nyakundi and Wilfred Nyamu will continue representing Sonko in the corruption case. On March 15, 2021, Ogoti ordered Sonko appear in court in person for the hearing of his case after he skipped court on Monday.

This is after the court on March 4, 2021 directed that Sonko’s case has to proceed for further hearing without further delay with or without his lawyers. 

“The accused must take charge of his case. He should ensure he has all the disclosed court documents in his possession.

Any advocate accepting this case that is an ongoing matter in court should first appraise himself regarding trial before accepting the brief,” Ogoti ruled.

He said no advocate or accused would be heard on adjournment for lack of sufficient instructions.

On Monday, Ogoti issued orders to have Sonko appear in court in person for the hearing of his case after he skipped court.

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