By Winnie Kabintie
Justice James Wakiaga, who is set to hear the murder trial of TV journalist Jacque Maribe and her fiancé Joseph Irungu alias Jowie , has cautioned the media against making reports that are prejudicial to the trial.
The judge, who has taken over the case from Justice Jessie Lessit after she recused herself from the case, said he wants to approach the case without being influenced by the media.
“My attitude towards these people (journalists) is negative. Am old school and I believe in blind justice. I don’t watch TV but I read newspapers.” said Judge James Wakiaga
Justice James Wakiaga has ordered the media to stop speculations on the murder of Monica Kimani, saying the media should let the Court and the prosecuting team do their job.
“I would be “upset if the media continues influencing the thinking on the case”, he said.
The local mainstream media had gone overboard in reporting the case with local newspapers publishing various unverified stories that painted Jowie, particularly, as a criminal with a questionable character.
In one particular story published by The Standard Newspaper last week, the paper wrote that Jowie previously worked for Fair Mount hotel Dubai, where he was laid off for grounds of indiscipline, including sneaking into female staff hostels.
The paper cited that the account was given by a former colleague who opted to remain anonymous but at the same time pointed out they did not verify the info with the said employer.
A story that would leave any right thinking person questioning why such a reputable publication would find it really necessary to publish such a story with no multiple credible sources to verify its authenticity.
Martin Minns, a UK-born writer and documentary maker now living and working in Kenya, told The Forum: “Kenyan law is based on English law. I’m not a lawyer but in the UK trials have collapsed when it has been deemed that too much irresponsible media coverage could have made a fair trial impossible in front of a jury who almost inevitably will have read, seen and heard prejudicial comments in newspapers, on TV, or on the radio”.
Sentiments that have been echoed by one of Kenya’s top advocates, Donald Kipkorir following Justice James Wakiaga caution to the media against reporting on the Maribe, Jowie murder trial.
“Justice James Wakiaga is a good Jurist. I know him. I doubt he gave orders to gag the media. Justice is two-pronged: Court Process & Public Corridor. Media has a right to speculate. Judges are trained to operate above public din & decide cases on evidence before Court Only,” Donald Kipkorir said in a tweet.
The judge also ruled that TV journalist Jacque Maribe and fiancé Joseph Irungu remain in custody for seven more days. Their bail application will be heard on 24.10.18 from 11.30 AM.
The two pleaded not guilty to murdering businesswoman Monica Kimani, who was killed in her apartment last month.