PROCEEDINGS were called off midstream after it emerged the prosecution was relying on documents not disclosed to the defence, a glaring oversight in any criminal trial.
Defence lawyers led by SC Ahmednassir Abdullahi said “it would only be proper of the documents were given to us in hard copy” and a prosecution witness had to be stood down to allow the prosecution furnish the defence with the copies in question.
At one time the veteran lawyer wondered why the prosecution was clogging the proceedings with witnesses who only received files, read evidence,concerning Infotalent, but were never involved in analysing them.
Among the witnesses was EACC deputy CEO Michael Mubea who in his short testimony informed the trial court that his sole duty was to receive evidence and seek Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) but was not involved in the investigation.
Primarily to receive
“I did play a role in receiving international evidence procured through MLA, ” Mubea stated in his brief testimony which did not provoke cross examination from the defence.
He said he received a flash-disk “but id go into it to examine its contents.”
A former sleuth Gideon Rukaria who was stood down also confirmed his role was primarily to receive the Infotalent files which he then forwarded to the case investigating officer who is yet to testify.
The witness said he further received two cartons of files from the AG’s office, 12 files and 2 compact disks and folders.
An attempt by state prosecutor Nicholas Mutuku to lead the witness in testifying concerning the details contained in the documents in question was shot down by the defence and upheld by the trial magistrate.
Delaying it for months
SC Ahmednassir was categorical that the witness cannot purport to shed light on teh documents as he ” only received them” and forwarded them to the investigating officer.
The defence lawyers were of the opinion that judicial time was wasted although they were kind to leave it to the prosecution to conduct its case the best way it knows.
They were of the opinion that they would rather deal with the investigation officer who examined the evidence after receiving it from Switzerland, than have witness only come to court to confirm receipt, but again said its the prosecution’s case and it knows how best to conduct it.
SC Ahmednasir also questioned why Rukaria was purporting to give evidence when he had initially stated that he only received the files from the Attorney General and forwarded them to the various investigators.
“We want the investigator who handled the Infotalent file to be brought to court so that we can cross examine him,” Ahmednasir charged.
The proceedings were adjourned after it emerged the defence had no copies of the “crucial” documentation.
Trial magistrate Martha Mutuku directed that the ” defence be supplied with copies of the documents as marked” before the hearing resumes.
She said it was unfortunate that she never conducted the pre-trial conference(s) where confirmation is made on availability of documents to be relied on in a trial.
It is not teh first time that a documents hitch has hit the on-going trial sometimes delaying it for months.