Joseph Irungu, aka Jowie, yesterday burst into tears after his mother hugged him in court before his murder charge was read out.

Jowie has been in custody for a month. He and his fiancée Jacque Maribe were charged with killing Monica Kimani.

Another man who had been detained in connection with the killing was released. Brian Kassaine is now a prosecution witness. He is said to have helped detectives to piece together the events of the night the crime was committed.

Yesterday, Jowie was overwhelmed by emotions for the first time since September 25 when he came into the limelight following the murder allegations.

Jowie was in the dock when his mother leaned over and hugged him. He held her tightly as tears flowed freely for about 30 seconds. He apparently did not want to let go of his mother.

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The embrace was, however, cut shot by court officers who announced the arrival of the presiding judge. The session started.

All the while, Maribe was chatting with friends and family who came to court to show solidarity. She seemed more relaxed as opposed to last week when she first appeared in court. She had shed tears and her father was on standby to offer emotional support.

Minutes after 9am, the charge was read out to the two and they pleaded not guilty. The prosecution said the two were fit to stand trial after being mentally examined.

Justice Jessie Lessit had postponed the plea taking to yesterday, after she ordered that Maribe be taken to Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital for a mental assessment.

“The second accused cannot take a plea until her mental capacity is ascertained. The court will therefore resume on Monday,” she said amid protests by Maribe’s lawyer Katwa Kigen.

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The lawyer said, “Your ladyship, everyone here can see that my client is fit for trial.”

Yesterday, the court heard that on September 20 along Dennis Pritt Road, they jointly murdered Monica.

Kigen told Justice Lessit that they intended to file an affidavit for bail application. He asked for an early hearing date and sought investigations diary and witness statements.

State counsel Catherine Mwaniki said they were ready for an early hearing date. The prosecution will supply the defence with all witness statements to be used during trial, she said.

“We’ll supply the witness documents within two weeks except for the witnesses who are under protection,” Mwaniki said.

The prosecution was, however, opposed to having the two being released on bail. In an affidavit filed in court, it said they are likely to interfere with witnesses given that the investigations have not been completed. It said Jowie has no fixed residence and, being a frequent flier, might abscond if freed.

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Probe not completed

“The investigations are ongoing to establish any money that could have been taken from the deceased’s house. The deceased was to travel out of the country,” affidavit by investigating officer Maxwell Otieno reads.

They are tracing the money movement, persons involved, and how and who is currently in possession of the money. The prosecution hinted that its investigations will go beyond Kenyan territory. It did not elaborate.

The investigating officer said Maribe is a media personality associated with persons of influence and there is a high possibility she might threaten or influence key witnesses if released. The officer said;

In view of the fear that may be occasioned on the key prosecution witnesses, there is need for ample time to be given for the identified prosecution witnesses identity to be protected and their statements redacted, noting that this incident and trial has attracted public attention.

Maribe and Irungu’s lawyers wanted the court to hear their bail applications yesterday. They argued that the two had been in custody for a long time.

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The prosecution and victim’s lawyer opposed the application, telling the court they needed more time to be able to canvass.

Justice Lessit referred the bail hearing to another judge. The case will be mentioned tomorrow for the court to give a date for bail hearing.


Credits: The Star