The High Court has ordered suspects Jacque Maribe and her fiancé Joseph Irungu detained until Monday after a mental assessment was ordered for the television journalist. Ms Maribe will undergo the test at Mathari Hospital in Nairobi. Justice Jessi Lessit said the suspect cannot be called upon take plea without a mental examination.
The two suspects were presented in court on Tuesday morning and were seen furtively communicating in the dock. Mr Irungu, whose hand was in a sling and was chewing gum while on the dock, will also get treatment for his gunshot wound.
His lawyer told the court that the arm is paralysed and swollen as he produced a referral note from Nairobi Hospital to Kenyatta National Hospital. During an interview with NTV, Mr Irungu’s parents said police officers have denied him access to medical treatment since his arrest.
Mr Bryan Kassaine Spira, the best of friend of Mr Joseph Irungu ‘Jowie’ and TV anchor Jacque Maribe, has turned State witness, according to the Nation’s law enforcement sources.
Yesterday, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji gave consent for the prosecution of Mr Irungu and Ms Maribe for murder in the death of Ms Monica Kimani on the night of September 19.
It had been widely speculated that Ms Maribe would face the lesser charge of accessory to murder, but it appears investigators and prosecutors want to leave the job of determining the extent of culpability, if any, to the courts.
Even the lesser offence of accessory to murder is a serious crime whose punishment is life in prison, according to Section 222 of the Penal Code.
The acquisition of a high value witness may also have given investigators and prosecutors confidence in their murder case. Mr Kassaine is Ms Maribe’s neighbour and a close friend of the couple. It is likely that Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti will have used Mr Kassaine’s evidence to try and tie the two to the crime and what investigators have described as an attempted cover up.
In the opinion of prosecutors and investigators that the Nation spoke to in confidence, four factors will have weighed on the minds of investigators with regard to Ms Maribe’s fate; first, when she learnt of Ms Kimani’s death, based on the assumption that Ms Kimani was known to her; second, whether she came into contact with any evidence relating to a possible crime and a person she may reasonably have suspected to have committed the crime; third, how she behaved towards any evidence of the crime; and, finally, what steps she took to report her suspicions to the police.
Police have previously said that clothes which may have been worn by a suspect in the commission of the crime were burnt near Ms Maribe’s house. Investigators and prosecutors will be hoping that Mr Kassaine will help the court to identify the person or persons involved in the burning of the clothes, which they have characterised as the destruction of evidence and concealment of a crime.
Police and prosecutors will likely also be relying on Mr Kassaine to give evidence about his gun, a Ceska, which was used in an alleged suicide attempt by Mr Irungu inside Ms Maribe’s Royal Park Estate house on Friday, September 21, at around 1am. Yesterday, Nation sources said ballistics experts had confirmed that the bullet which injured Mr Irungu came from Mr Kassaine’s gun.
At 7pm in the evening of the same day, Ms Maribe, Mr Irungu and Mr Kassaine reported to Lang’ata Police Station that Mr Irungu had been shot by thugs early in the day.