Court Rejects Out-of-Court Settlement for Gay Case Involving 3 ACK Pastors
The High Court in Nyeri on Wednesday rejected the outcome of an out-of-court agreement for a case involving three ACK pastors and bishop.
The court initially agreed for the case to be settled out-of-court under the direction of a mediator of the court-annexed mediation program Joakim Mulama Oundo.
However, Justice Abigail Mshila dismissed the agreement by Oundo maintaining it wasn't legally binding.
“For the mediation agreement to be binding, the two respondents, Bishop Kagunda and the registered trustees of the Anglican Church of Kenya, must sign in person. The court does not know the two people and the mediation agreement is also not dated,” said Justice Mshila.
Justice Mshila further pointed out that two people, Venerable Canon Gerald Muriithi and Venerable Samuel Waweru, unknown to the court, had signed the document on behalf of Bishop Kagunda and the Church.
In the case, ACK's Mt Kenya West Diocese Bishop Kagunda revoked the preaching licenses of three pastors on grounds of the serious allegations of engaging in homosexuality, which is regarded to be against Christian Doctrines.
The three clerics moved to court seeking to be paid damages by the Church administration over and above continuing to serve as pastors. They also sought damages for psychological trauma allegedly experienced after being expelled from the church for homosexuality.
The judge, however, directed the mediator to expound on whether or not the church should pay the three clerics damages and who should bear the costs of the suit.
The clerics’ lawyer, David Onsare, insisted, “The issues of costs of the suit and amount to be paid (if any) to be determined by the court.”
Lawyer Onsare also protested that the agreement was not clear on issues of damages and costs that his clients deserved.
Additionally, the Church Legal Chancellor Wachira Nderitu explained his complaints that the agreement was not clear praying that the matter is referred back to the mediator.
In the ruling, Judge Mshila directed both the church and the clerics to comply with the other items outlined in the agreement. Among them was that the priests resume their pastoral duties and ensure they adhere to the church regulations.
The agreement also holds that Bishop Kagunda will marshal the Church congregation to accept the three clerics back to service even as he engages in consultations with other leaders on posting them to new working stations.
The agreement read, “The Bishop shall communicate to Christians regarding the agreement which shall be implemented within a period of 30 days. The clergy shall conduct themselves in line with established guidelines, code of conduct and expectations of the Christians.”
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