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Muite barred from defending former Mungiki leader in robbery with violence case

Senior Counsel Paul Muite has been barred by the High Court from defending former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga in a robbery with violence case.

In a ruling delivered on Thursday, Lady Justice Ngenye Macharia, also barred the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mr Keriako Tobiko from calling Mr Muite as a witness in the case.

Justice Macharia upheld a decision by a magistrate that there will be conflict of interest if Mr Muite is allowed to defend the former Mungiki leader in the case.

She said even when Mr Muite placed himself on record to be one of the team of lawyers appearing for Mr Njenga in the criminal case where he is accused of detaining armed police officers in a church he knew he had recorded a statement as a prosecution witness.

Mr Njenga had appealed against a decision by the trial magistrate to lock Mr Muite from the defence team.

Mr Muite was one of the three lawyers in Mr Njenga’s defence team. The others are Cliff Ombeta and Evans Ondieki.

The former leader of the outlawed sect had told a former trial magistrate Elijah Obaga that under the Constitution, he was entitled to be defended by an advocate of his choice.

STATE WITNESS

But the DPP, through state prosecutor Lilian Obuor, opposed the presence of Mr Muite in the defence team saying he was state witness in the case.

The former Mungiki leader has been accused, alongside Mr Francis Mwangi, Mr Daniel Wanjohi, Mr Ngare Njogu and Mr Stephen Kuria Mwangi, of attacking four police officers and robbing them of their guns in a city church.

The five have denied eight counts against them and are out on a cash bail of Sh200,000. The capital offence against them carries a death sentence upon conviction.

The accused are alleged to have subdued four policemen who were answering a distress call at the Hope International Ministries Church in Kasarani, Nairobi, on April 22.

The suspects have denied robbing police officers Dalmas Muthoka, Edwin Koech, Gregory Nzioka and Moses Mwangi of cash, guns and live bullets during the incident.

They also denied robbing Mr Joseph Thuo of cash and damaging his car worth Sh5.2 million on the same day.

Other charges against them are unlawful confinement of the law enforcers and malicious damage of government and private vehicles.