Judge quits mur­der trial, cites med­dling in case from fam­i­lies

Says she with­drew over in­ter­fer­ence from rel­a­tives of vic­tim, ac­cused. ‘I know who is try­ing to reach me, I don’t want to mention them, just know you can’t reach me’

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Western - JOHN NALIANYA @jon­a­liash

Bun­goma High Court judge Abida Aroni yes­ter­day dis­qual­i­fied her­self from the high-pro­file mur­der trial of a busi­ness­man-politi­cian ac­cused of killing a univer­sity stu­dent.

She said she made the de­ci­sion be­cause of in­ter­fer­ence from both the fam­i­lies of the vic­tim and the ac­cused.

“I know who is try­ing to reach me, I don’t want to mention them but just know you can’t reach me,” Aroni said.

Joseph Waswa is ac­cused of killing Mitch Kibiti, a stu­dent at the Tech­ni­cal Univer­sity of Mom­basa, in July 2014.

He is ac­cused of shoot­ing the 25year- old stu­dent at Club Eto­nia in Kim­ilili town. Kibiti was at a birth­day party with friends. The death caused an up­roar and Waswa’s club was torched. Waswa de­nied the charges and is out on bond.

Aroni urged the fam­ily of the slain stu­dent and Waswa to al­low jus­tice to pre­vail in the emo­tive case.

She di­rected the case be trans­ferred to the High Court in Kakamega.

This is the sec­ond judge to dis­qual­ify her­self or him­self from this case, af­ter judge Al­fred Mabeya with­drew in Novem­ber 2014.

Mabeya said there was a lot of pres­sure and in­ter­fer­ence.

The fa­ther of the stu­dent, David Kibiti, is a chief of­fi­cer in the Bun­goma county govern­ment.

Waswa is a well-known known Bun­goma phi­lan­thropist. Waswa wants to run for the Bun­goma Se­nate seat.

Waswa, through lawyers J Amollo and Ed­win Si­funa, ap­plied to the Court of Ap­peal in Kisumu.

He wants the case stopped un­til it is de­ter­mined whether lawyer Ge­orge Mu­runga, rep­re­sent­ing Kibiti’s fam­ily, should be al­lowed to cross-ex­am­ine wit­nesses along­side the prose­cu­tion.

On Au­gust 17, judge Aroni al­lowed the ap­pli­ca­tion.

The case will be men­tioned on Jan­uary 26 in Kakamega.

/MONICAH MWANGI

Judge Abida Aroni when she ap­peared be­fore the JSC to be in­ter­viewed for the DCJ po­si­tion on Septem­ber 26

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