By JV Law
The High Court (J. Wakiaga, J) did NOT issue a Blanket Bar on Maribe’s News Reading:
Although Justice WAKIAGA issued some limited restriction which he found reasonable and justifiable, he did not say that Jackie Maribe cannot read news any more nor during the pendency of the trial.
The Judge’s orders and more particularly the intended meaning of “reading news” is that Paragraph 64 is a follow-up of, and must be read in the context of, Paragraph 56. And Paragraph 56 is very clear that the novel question relates “in particular to the 2nd Accused person’s appearance on television screen.”
“56. Mr. Mwaniki (sic) for the prosecution urged the court to put restrictions on the 2nd accused and in particular to her appearance on television screen. I have noted that this is novel point which has not been tested in our jurisdiction and from the submissions before me I note that this is a complex and substantial matter which needed full bail hearing so as to test whether or not the presence of the accused on the screen would intimidate or interfere with witnesses so as to affect the administration of justice. At this stage, however it must be noted that the accused is still presumed innocent and the court must guard against making orders which might be perceived to be confirming that the she is guilty in the eyes of the public…”
“64. Finally on the issue raised by Miss Mwaniki and having stated herein that it is a novel area, and taking into account the fact that the 2nd accused had the misfortune of reading the news in respect of the deceased’s death, I am of the considered view and hold that some limited restriction is reasonable and justifiable. I therefore direct as
a) The accused shall not read news, comment and participate in any interview directly or indirectly related to this case.
b) The accused shall not read news during the period this matter is fixed for hearing.
c) The accused shall not interview any parties directly or indirectly connected with this case including the victim’s family, her Advocate, defence Advocate, the prosecutors and any prosecution witnesses and the trial judge.
d) This order is subject to review by the court from time to time…”
It is clear from the foregoing that the orders meet the test of being “precise and not subject to double interpretation.” The ordes relates to her reading news on television screen.
Orders (a) and (b) relating to the news-reading are in my view equally precise and clear: while order (a) prohibits the 2nd accused from reading news, commenting and participating in any interview directly or indirectly RELATED TO THIS CASE, order (b) on the other hand prohibits the 2nd accused from reading news DURING THE PERIOD THE MATTER IS FIXED FOR HEARING. She may therefore read news when the matter is not fixed for hearing.