Man seeks High Court judge Mrima ouster for jailing Kinoti

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021 00:00 | By
High Court Judge Anthony Mrima during a past court session. Photo/PD/File

A businessman has petitioned the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for the removal of High Court judge Anthony Mrima over alleged gross misconduct and bias, in the manner he handled the recent Jimi Wanjigi gun saga.

Michael Makarina, who has filed the petition under Ulemavu Initiative, accuses the judge of breaching the Judicial Code of Conduct for sending to jail, the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti without affording him a chance to fair hearing.

Makarina wants JSC to sack the judge over his decision to convict Kinoti in a firearms saga, involving the Nairobi businessman.

Deliberate misconduct

“The conduct of the judge went against all principles of judicial independence, conduct, rule of law and constitutionalism as it smacks deliberate misconduct or incompetency,” he says in the petition.

Through lawyer Danstan Omari, the petitioner wants JSC to initiate the necessary procedures for Justice Mrima’s removal from office, saying his actions amounted to incompetence, corruption, bias, gross misconduct and breach of the Judicial Code of Conduct, Ethics and Oath of Office.

The petitioner wants the judge investigated to ascertain any benefit, he may have received for allegedly taking a deliberate legal misdirection while discharging and executing his duties.

“The judge has used his power, office and authority in an unaccountable manner meant to frustrate DCI Kinoti and to expose mwananchi to danger, as the court has since observed, is a man with huge national responsibilities as Director of Criminal Investigations,” he pleads in the petition.

“It is palpable that the judge has been acting with malafide, morbid and ill will with sole intention of humiliating Kinoti  through misapplying and misunderstanding the contempt of court proceedings, in a manner that infringes on the DCI’s rights to a fair trial and right to a fair hearing,” says Makarina.

Material evidence

He contends that the  order that the Inspector General of Police was to bring Kinoti to court, to answer to the charge of contempt long after he (Kinoti) had been sentenced is baffling and a demonstration of the court’s inability, to appreciate that the invitation is belated.

The petitioner further accuses the judge of refusing to appreciate the material evidence presented before him, as proof that the conviction and sentence against Kinoti was erroneous, baseless, unmerited and unsupported by any tangible proof.

He claims that Kinoti is a courageous public servant who is never afraid to lose his life in service and before his elevation to DCI boss, survived 28 bullets and lived to tell the tale of the likely consequences of a committed public servant.

Makarina claims he is yet to comprehend why the judge singled out Kinoti out of the three respondents or parties that Wanjigi had sued.

Last week, the Court of Appeal offered Kinoti a reprieve when it temporarily suspended his arrest and subsequent jailing for four months.

A three-judge bench comprising Fatuma Sichale, Imaana Laibuta and Mbogholi Msagha—issued interim orders suspending Kinoti’s sentence pending a ruling to be delivered on April 1 next year.

This followed an appeal lodged by Attorney General (AG) Paul Kariuki challenging the decision of the High Court to commit Kinoti to civil jail, over failure to release firearms belonging to the businessman.

The AG informed the appellate court that Justice Mrima erred in law by committing Kinoti to jail without hearing him. He argued that the DCI does not keep or store civilian firearms.

Lawyer Cecil Miller and Wilfred Nyamu both acting for Kinoti and the AG, urged the court to issue the temporary stay, pending hearing and determination of the appeal.

The Court of Appeal’s decision came only a day after the High Court, had issued a warrant of arrest to have Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai arrest Kinoti, after he failed to surrender to prison to serve his jail term.

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