Wairimu back in remand for 10 more days

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 00:00 |
Sarah Wairimu Kamotho with her lawyer Philip Murgor at the Milimani law courts where she was arraigned over the murder of her husband Tob Cohen. Photo/PD/CHARLES MATHAI.

Sarah Wairimu Kamotho, the widow of the murdered Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen, will spend 10 more days in custody after her plea taking was differed for the second time. 

High Court Judge Jesse Lessit granted the prosecution requested to have her remanded at Lang’ata Women’s Prison until September 26 pending a mental health assessment to establish if she is fit to stand trial.

The judge also barred the Directorate  of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives, Director of Public  Prosecutions (DPP), Cohen family and defense lawyers from addressing the media on the ongoing Cohen murder probe. She also barred the media from reporting on the investigation.

Lessit made the ruling following complaints by Wairimu’s lawyer  Philip Murgor, who said his client was being prosecuted by the media and the DCI. 

The Director of Public Prosecutions, through Nicholas Mutuku, sought more time to have Wairimu, one of the suspect in the Dutch tycoon’s killing, taken for the psychiatric assessment in the presence of her lawyer. She had yet to undergo the test as directed by justice Charles Kariuki last Thursday. 

Delay tactics

He said they needed 10 days to book an appointment with doctors who will conduct mental assessment on Wairimu. 

“Plea cannot be taken without mental assessment of the accused. We need to organise for the  defense to be present. There has to be a booking with the doctor for the mental exam within 10 days prior to the process,” said Mutuku. 

Murgor, however, objected to the request by the prosecution saying the State was just applying delay tactics on the matter to complete their investigations.  

He urged the court to reject the application because his client has been in custody for 28 days and sought for bail terms pending the plea taking. 

Challenging the two paged charge sheet, he said there’s no single evidence to back it.

“Court had issued an order that the mental assessment be conducted on Thursday but the prosecution has failed to hour the same. Up to this point, the prosecution has not tabled any evidence in court and we still do not know what charges my client is facing,” said Murgor.    

But Mutuku opposed Murgor’s submission saying the time sought by prosecution was not justifiable. 

According to a charge sheet filed in court by the DPP, Wairimu is alleged to have killed Tob Chichou Cohen on the night of July 19 and 20 within Nairobi county jointly with others not before the court.  

At the same time, Murgor complained that his client is being prosecuted by the media and the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) which is against Wairimu’s right who is in custody.   

He further accused the police for violating Wairimu’s right by conducting investigations into the matter while her client is in custody. 

This is after detectives retrieved Cohen’s body from an underground water tank on Friday, inside his Kitisuru home.  

The defence team continued that Wairimu’s villa estimated at Sh400 million in Kitisuru, a residential suburb of Nairobi, risk being grabbed because nobody is living there after the body was found.  

“The caretakers at her house have run away after being scared off by Patrick Muiruri ,” said Murgor.    

He informed the court that the reports by a local newspaper that the multi-million shilling estate at Kitisuru was willed to Tob Cohen’s sister  Gabrielle Van Straten are false as Wairimu has 50 per cent stake to all the property. 

Oppose release

“It’s not true that the home was willed to Cohen’s sister. Wairimu needs to be out on bail to be fighting for her rights as she has 50 per cent stake to all the property,” said Murgor . 

However, the prosecution informed the court that they will give the defense all the evidence so that they can prepare for the trial. 

Mutuku said that post-mortem is yet to be conducted to establish the cause of death and the result is still part of the evidence and they will disclose all the evidence to the defence after that report. 

He added that the post-mortem was supposed to be yesterday 2:30pm but they have no objection to accommodate Wairimu’s pathologist, Andrew Kanyi, who will represent her in the process.  

The prosecution also informed the court that they intend to oppose the release of Wairimu on bail once she pleads to the murder charge. 

However, Cohen’s family lawyer Cliff Ombeta said they will indulge the defense during the post-mortem process expected to be conducted today. 

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