After trial Magistrate Wendy Michemi was forced to adjourn, the hearing of an ethnic contempt case against Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei continued halfway on Friday, contrary to its schedule.
The court ordered the prosecution witness, Mr. Simon Bett, a Kapsabet-based assistant chief, to step down after the court declared him hostile.
The defense witness’s hearing was marked by controversies and claims of collaboration with the defense to throw the case out.
After expressing unhappiness with the witness’s style of delivering testimony, the prosecution obtained permission from the court to cross-examine him about the statement he recorded with the police.
The defense, on the other hand, frequently objected to the prosecution’s line of questioning, claiming that the prosecution counsel was pressuring the witness to admit to concerns that were intended to harm them.
The trial Magistrate retreated after a point of objection by the defense counsel after the chief was pronounced hostile to analyze in detail a reference by the defense that supposedly prevents the prosecution from questioning the witness further after the declaration of hostility.
The prosecution objected to the defense’s request for a new witness to testify, claiming that the two witnesses were present at the same time and could have read from the same script in order to sabotage the case. As a result, the prosecution chose to have the magistrate draft a judgement before the next hearing.
Mr. Simon Tarus, a Kapsabet-based chief, is another witness whose line of testimony the prosecution is undecided about.
The two were hauled to court on a warrant of arrest after they had previously failed to appear in court due to unspecified reasons.
The witnesses’ attorney had previously asked the court to exclude the media from covering the hearings, claiming worries about their safety if they were seen by certain members of the public testifying in the case. Because the two are government workers with vested authority to serve the public, the court decided that testifying in public was not a problem.
Cherargei is accused of making statements that could lead to tribal hostilities while speaking to a crowd at a football club fundraiser in Kilibwoni Kapsabet on August 17th, 2019.
The prosecution called eight witnesses, five of whom have already been heard. The case will be heard again on April 19th and 20th, 2022.