Philip Murgor, the lawyer of Sarah Wairimu, the widow of slain Tob Cohen, now claims the state wants to detain her indefinitely and take her now contested matrimonial property from her.
In a sworn affidavit he filed on Monday to defend his participation in the case, Murgor alleged that the state, through the DCI and DPP wants to delay Wairimu’s taking of plea to “continue her continued detention without trial and eventually disinherit her of her matrimonial property.”
He claimed that going by public comments of DCI George Kinoti touching on the succession of Cohen’s property, the DDP led by prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki in the case “is hellbent on fraudulently handing over our client’s matrimonial home to the siblings of the deceased…”
The prosecution led by Mwaniki had last week objected to Murgor’s participation in the case, arguing that he was still a special prosecutor appointed by the Director of Public Proscution Noordin Haji earlier in the year.
Mwaniki serves in the rank of Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions at the ODPP.
Lawyer for Tob Cohen’s siblings Cliff Ombeta had sided with prosecution on the matter.
However, in the strong worded sworn document, Murgor claims that the game plan of the state is to impeach his participation in the case, deny the widow bail indefinitely and then “appropriate and hand over the matrimonial property on silver platter to the siblings and other interested parties.”
Justice Stella Mutuku is today set to determine whether Murgor will continue defending the widow in the murder trial.
Wairimu, 52, is accused of murdering her husband of over 13 years and is set to plea to the charge after the matter of her advocate is cleared.
Murgor maintained his position that he resigned as a prosecutor on March 7 and even corresponded with DPP Haji via WhatsApp messaging platform acknowledging the same.
“That Noordin Haji, by a WhatsApp message on March 8, 2019 at 5:29am, acknowledged my resignation letter, albeit expressing surprise by what he referred to as my drastic decision,” he wrote.
But the prosecution argued that Murgor’s resignation letter notwithstanding, he could only vacate the position by being his appointment being degazetted.
Murgor claimed in the document that he believes the assertion by the lead prosecution was “a red herring, an underhand and unethical attempt at delaying the accused plea,..hearing of her bail application..which amounts to abuse of court process and gross misconduct” on her part.
He accused Mwaniki of malice, dishonesty, and that she is “filled with acute hatred for my client [Wairimu].”
He also claimed that Mwaniki was not objective in handling the murder trial as she was allegedly under the direction of politician Patrick Muiruri, a claim that the prosecutor vehemently dismissed, demanding that Murgor must submit evidence of the same.
Murgor alleged that while Mwaniki and Ombeta were well aware of the facts of his practice, they chose to lodge the frivolous application to deny the Cohen widow justice and defer her taking plea to ensure that she is not free.
He claims that the state had all along wanted him out of the case, alleging that the DCI through one of the investigators named as Inspector Mwangi had “attempted to coerce the accused into changing her chosen counsel but she refused.”
“….[they did this] in the misguided hope that a less challenging advocate, probably at the same experience level as Catherine Mwaniki SADPP, shall be appointed,” he adds.
“That by this dishonest conduct, Ms. Catherine Mwaniki succeeded in further delaying the taking of the accused person’s plea and as a consequence ensured her continued incarceration (which by then stood at 30 days) in contravention of her right to speedy and fair trial under article 50 of the Constitution of Kenya and the right to be released on bail bending trial,” he added.
For maligning a professional colleague and lying to obtain undue advantage, the court should find the prosecutor to have gross misconducted herself and punish her, Murgor argued.