- Capital Group
Digital strategist Dennis Itumbi’s first day in court in a suit against Interior CS Fred Matiang’i over the Ruaraka land scam, was full of lessons as he faced off a team of veteran legal minds.
Itumbi, who was seeking to prosecute his first court case, was given a lesson on how to collect evidence for use in a court of law.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, he stated that Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti faulted him for not following the regulations entailed in the Evidence Act.Former Digital Communications Director at the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit Dennis Itumbi.
“I used my skills as an investigative journalist to gather evidence but the judge stated that it had to be certified,”
"The Anti- Corruption Court has schooled me on the law crash course. Lawyers for Matiang'i, DPP and EACC were in court. On my first day in court, I scored 42% in my view. We learn. We will ensure we get answers, there will be some barricades, but we have the stamina," he disclosed, adding that Justice Ogoti would rule on the matter later in the week.
While Itumbi, a trained journalist, sought to personally prosecute Matiang’i, the CS was represented by a team of experienced lawyers.
The strict procedure and process of submitting evidence for use in court have contributed to the reason exposés done by journalists are rarely admissible.
During the session, Itumbi stated that he had obtained the purported evidence from public offices in accordance with Article 35 of the Constitution on access to information.
However, he was at pains to explain when Justice Ogoti asked him for the request forms with which he used to obtain the documents.
“You know we are dealing with legal issues, hakuna mambo ya system ya facts hapa,” the judge quipped in response to Itumbi's social media campaign dubbed system ya facts.
Oftentimes, journalists obtain documents from protected sources that the court is likely to find inadmissible.
According to the Evidence Act, “a statement in a document shall not be deemed to have been made by a person unless the document or the material part thereof was written, made or produced by him with his own hand, or was signed or initialled by him or otherwise recognized by him in writing as one for the accuracy of which he is responsible.”
Should the court grant Itumbi the go-ahead to privately prosecute the CS, the case will proceed unless vetoed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji.
Haji will have the leeway to institute a nolle prosequi (order to stop prosecution) at any stage of the case which would effectively see the charges dropped.President Uhuru Kenyatta with blogger Dennis Itumbi at State HouseFile
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