Court lifts order against Walter Barasa’s arrest

Wanted former journalist Walter Barasa now risks arrest after the Court of Appeal lifted orders that barred police from apprehending him in connection with alleged interference of International Criminal Court witnesses.

The former journalist is fighting extradition to the Hague-based court, after the High Court dismissed a petition he had filed, challenging a warrant for his arrest.

He is wanted by the ICC to face charges of interfering with witnesses in the former case against Deputy President William Ruto and Mr Joshua arap Sang.

Mr Barasa is wanted together with lawyer Paul Gacheru and Mr Philip Bett.

STOPPED ARREST

He had successfully stopped his arrest and planned extradition temporarily at the Court of Appeal.

The orders were issued by the court on May 29, 2014.

READ: We’ll come back should there be fresh chaos, ICC warns

However, Judges Philip Waki, Kathurima M’inoti and Patrick Kiage lifted the order, after his lawyer failed to comply with an order requiring him to amend one of the records in the appeal.

The three judges were also angered by Mr Barasa’s lawyer, Mr Kibe Mungai, who sent a junior lawyer from his firm to seek adjournment saying he was appearing at the High Court, for another case.

It emerged that the court had ordered Mr Mungai to correct one of the appeal’s records last year and serve it to Attorney-General Githu Muigai, Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko and lawyer Wilfred Nderitu. He had, however, not done so by Tuesday.

APPEAL

The lawyer told the judges that Mr Mungai had failed to comply with the orders as a result of miscommunication.

READ: AG seeks local trial for ‘witness fixers’

Mr Tobiko and Prof Muigai asked the court to dismiss the appeal but the judges rejected the application.

The judges said they would not be dismissing the appeal and instead would lift the order protecting Mr Barasa from arrest, as punishment.

“We ought to punish the truancy of the lawyer and ensure justice for his client. The protective order issued by this court giving protection against the arrest of the appellant is hereby vacated”, the judges ruled. “Mr Kibe will personally pay the cost of the hearing today failing which it will attract interest,” they ruled.

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