State fights bid to push out judge in Sharon Otieno murder case


State fights bid to push out judge in Sharon Otieno murder case
Michael Oyamo and Caspal Obiero during a past court appearance over the murder of Sharon Otieno. PHOTO| CITIZEN DIGITAL

Prosecution on Wednesday opposed an application by Michael Oyamo and Caspal Obiero seeking to have Presiding Judge Jessy Lessit to recuse herself from hearing their case.

In their earlier application, the two, who are charged with the murder of Sharon Otieno, said that they shall not be accorded a fair trial if Justice Jessy Lessit presides.

Prosecution however asked court to dismiss the application saying that the accused were just applying delay tactics aimed at frustrating the case.

“… the accused waited too long to make this application …. Which is an indication that the application is not brought in good faith,” read court papers.

Prosecution further argued that the accused did not provide adequate proof to dislodge the presumption of partiality and the apprehension of bias.

Oyamo and Obiero however claim that the judge made prejudicial remarks while declining to release them on bail that negated the presumption of innocence accorded to them in the constitution.

“I do apprehend and reasonably so that I shall not be accorded a fair and impartial trial and I request that the case against me be presided over by any judge other than Justice Lessit,” claims Oyamo.

They claim that the trial court acted in a discriminatory manner and in violation of the principle of equality of treatment in applying different standards to different accused persons.

“All accused persons applied to be admitted on bail and bond and a decision was made which allowed Obado to be released on bail while Caspal Ojwang and myself were denied bail,” says Oyamo.

In response, Prosecution  that the grounds advanced for opposing release of each accused persons were different and supported by different and specific affidavits.

“ That in determining the existence of compelling ground/evidence for denying an accused person bail the court considers each case in its own merit and makes specific findings in the particular application,” presented Prosecution.

26-year-old Sharon Otieno went missing on September 3 last year after a meeting with a Nation journalist in Migori.

She was found dead two days later near Kodera Forest in Homa Bay County.

The student, who Governor Obado later revealed had been in a relationship with him, was seven months pregnant at the time of her murder.

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