Police want Baraza tried
Police believe Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza and her driver should face gun charges, security officials told the Nation on Monday.
Among the charges police want Lady Justice Baraza to face are unlawful possession of a firearm, illegal use of a firearm and threatening to kill.
Lady Justice Baraza, who is also the Deputy President of the Supreme Court, is alleged to have assaulted a security guard, Ms Rebecca Kerubo, on New Year’s eve at the Village Market, an upmarket shopping mall in Nairobi.
On Monday, her employer, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), ordered an investigation into her conduct and will take a decision about her future on Friday.
The judge has apologised for an “unfortunate” incident, but has denied that it involved a gun.
As a sign of the gravity of the incident, Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere sought the legal advice of Attorney-General Githu Muigai yesterday morning.
A knowledgeable Judiciary source said Mr Iteere took a strong position on the matter, informing Prof Muigai that he would resign if the JSC interfered with investigations. But there were conflicting reports as to whether the investigation file, together with the prosecution recommendations, had reached the office of prosecutor Keriako Tobiko.
Within the JSC, judge Baraza’s legal quandary is being seen as an embarrassment to the Judiciary and as testing the “spirit of the equality of all before the law”. But the JSC is also careful not to become a lynch mob and its members are understood to be determined to offer her a fair hearing.
“Justice must not only be done but also be seen to be done. That is why the sub-committee was formed to hear all sides,” said the source explaining why the JSC did not take its decision yesterday.
Scuffle at mall
The sub-committee is chaired by the Rev Samuel Kobia. Its members are Mr Ahmednasir Abdullahi, Ms Emily Ominde, Ms Florence Mwangangi, Prof Christine Mango, Mr Titus Gatere and Mr Justice Isaac Lenaola, with Mrs Gladys Shollei as its secretary.
The Police investigation into the mall scuffle was led by the director of CID, Mr Ndegwa Muhoro, underscoring the seriousness with which the case is being treated. Police sources said detectives were satisfied that they had sufficient evidence to sustain charges.
The decision to recommend prosecution, police sources said, was mainly based on Judge Baraza’s statement, which police described as “self-incriminating”.
Statements were also taken from the driver and the judge’s bodyguard as well as other witnesses.
In their reconstruction of events, detectives believe that Lady Justice Baraza obtained a gun from her driver, which she brandished at a cowering Ms Kerubo. There have also been allegations that she threatened to shoot the security guard in an incident which threatens to undermine judicial reforms