Defiant lawyer Cliff Ombeta wears sweatpants to court, says ‘illness is private’


Lawyer Cliff Ombeta in court on Friday, July 12, 2019. PHOTO | DZUYA WALTER
Lawyer Cliff Ombeta in court on Friday, July 12, 2019. PHOTO | DZUYA WALTER

In Summary

  • The Prosecution however insisted that Ombeta reveal what he is ailing from and further accused him of deliberately delaying hearing of the case.
  • A defiant Ombeta remained adamant that his illness is a private matter and refrained from divulging further information.
  • “I'm not the one on trial so anything happening to me its private, again leave me alone …why do you want to know my sickness, leave me alone,” Ombeta said.

An irate Cliff Ombeta on Friday told off the Prosecution after they accused him of not being forthright about his reported illness.

In a dramatic fashion on Friday, the advocate who was dressed in a hat and black sweatpants faced off with the Prosecution expressing his outrage over their demands to have his records investigated.

“If I am told that I am unwell I will still go to hospital and I will stay there….it doesn’t matter whether it is the court or you….” Ombeta said before State counsel Prof. Bernard Sihanya interjected.

At this time, Ombeta had already started walking away in evident disapproval of the conversation.

Prof. Sihanya however told Ombeta that he does not need to explain himself to the Prosecution but to the court.

His comments seemed to anger the city lawyer even more as Ombeta turned towards the Prosecution and event pointed at Prof. Sihanya and asked: “So why are you talking to me about it?”

The bitter exchange was filmed inside the courtroom before trial judge Justice Jessie Lessit arrived.

When she entered the courtroom, Ombeta’s dressing is the first thing that caught her attention.

“You are not dressed properly,” she said, to which the advocate responded: “I apologise to the court…it’s not intentional…it’s the circumstances…”

Ombeta claimed that he has been unwell since Saturday and was told to be on bedrest for four days.

“If my file can be looked at one can see that this condition did not start yesterday….it’s been there for two years now so when I’m given the painkillers it’s me who knows why I’m taking them,” he added.

The Prosecution however insisted that Ombeta reveal what he is ailing from and further accused him of deliberately delaying hearing of the case.

Ombeta is representing three accused persons charged with the murder of lawyer Willy Kimani.

He failed to appear in court on Thursday citing medical reasons and the Prosecution sought to have the Director of Criminal Investigations probe the doctor’s letter presented on his behalf.

“Are we dealing with a supernatural being ..the conduct of the lawyer raises questions and that why we have to investigate,” State Counsel Nicholas Mutuku said.

A defiant Ombeta remained adamant that his illness is a private matter and refrained from divulging further information.

“I’m not the one on trial so anything happening to me its private, again leave me alone …why do you want to know my sickness, leave me alone,” Ombeta said.

He told the court that he has an appointment scheduled for next week and will therefore not go on with the hearing.

A report from the DCI on Ombeta’s medical condition is to be delivered in court on Monday and the matter will be mentioned next Tuesday for further direction.

“Ombeta is not on trial , no one chooses to be sick ..the problem was how his case was presented which poses difficulty to the court and parties,” the judge said.

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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