Inside Politics

Suspect in Ivy case wants judge recusal

Thursday, September 30th, 2021 00:00 |
Naftali Kinuthia, the suspect behind the murder of Moi University student Ivy Wangeci when he appeared for the hearing of the case at Eldoret High Court yesterday. Photo/PD/WYCLIFFE KIPSANG

Wycliffe Kipsang

The case in which a man is facing a murder charge for the death of Moi University final year medical student Ivy Wangeci has taken another twist after the suspect demanded a judge hearing the case recuses himself.

Through lawyer Naftali Kinuthia, the suspect has filed an application before the court asking High Court Judge Stephen Githinji to recuse himself from the case on claims of favouring the victim’s side.

 The accused argues that failure by the court to grant him bail is a clear indication that the judge won’t serve him justice.  Kinuthia has had his three bail applications dismissed.

Kinuthia’s claims come barely a month after Chief Justice Martha Koome directed Justice Githinji to give priority to the case, which has failed to kick off since 2019.

Koome’s letter

Koome in her letter addressed to Justice Githinji directed that the hearing of the case be completed before October 1, when the judge is expected to officially report at his new workstation in Malindi following his transfer.

The Chief Justice also noted that in case the hearing will not be completed within the prescribed period, Justice Githinji will be allowed to travel to handle the case in Eldoret to avoid further delays.

The CJ’s directive came following a letter written to her by Kiroko Ndegwa, the advocate representing the late Wangeci’s family, complaining of the delay of the case since 2019.

The murder trial had failed to kick off five times in a row at the High Court in Eldoret before finally starting in July.

In dismissing the recent bail application, the court ruled that the accused might interfere with witnesses who have not yet testified as well as the fact that he might be at risk if released.

Justice Githinji has now issued a directive for both parties to file their responses on the application ahead of the mention set for October 21.

Meanwhile, the hearing continued with two more witnesses testifying.

Kinuthia who has been in custody since April 2019 when he was arrested is accused of hacking to death Wangechi in Eldoret town using an axe.

Wangechi was a medical student at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret.

 According to those who witnessed the cold blood murder, Wangechi was walking outside the institution with her friends, when her assailant attacked her, hacking her to death using an axe. 

Kinuthia escaped death narrowly after an irate mob pelted him with stones before police rescued him.

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