Ex-school principal wants judge to exit murder case

A former principal of Icaciri Girls’ Secondary School and her co-accused want a judge to recuse himself from hearing a case in which they are facing trial for the murder of her husband, who was Kiru Boys’ High School principal.

Ms Jane Muthoni and Isaac Ng’ang’a, alias Gikuyu, in an application through their lawyer Francis Njanja, said they feared that they would not get a fair trial from Kiambu High Court Judge Joel Ngugi, considering he had convicted their former co-accused, Joseph Kariuki, who confessed to having been hired by Ms Muthoni to commit the murder.

The two have denied killing Mr Solomon Mwangi, whose strangled body was recovered at a thicket in Karakuta, Juja Sub-County, Kiambu County, in November last year.

Kariuki, alias Karis, was the pair’s co-accused but later became a State witness and is serving a seven-year jail term at an undisclosed prison after he confessed that Ms Muthoni hired him and Mr Ng’ang’a to kill Mr Mwangi for allegedly cheating on her.

PRIOR CASE

During the sentencing of Kariuki, the two argued that Justice Ngugi made considerable finding that they participated in the murder, a finding which they feel “took a position in law as to their culpability” in their ongoing case.

Lawyer Njanja further stated in the motion that Justice Ngugi, having determined the prior case, was unable to “independently (and) impartially render a fair hearing to the accused” without constantly referring to the finding against Kariuki.

And no matter how strong their defence would be, it would be “met with the same partial and made-up mind on the part of the trial court” thus making the trial a sham in the eyes of the law.

In the joint application, which State Counsel Catherine Mwaniki and victim’s lawyer Wokafi Mathege said they would file an objection to, Ms Muthoni and Mr Ng’ang’a want the matter referred to a Nairobi high court.

Ms Mwaniki said the court should not disqualify itself considering that the hearing is almost done.

The case will continue on November 22.

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