Additional reporting by Sheila Mutua
Sarah Wairimu will spend five more nights in detention amid emergent questions on whether her lawyer, Philip Murgor, is still a special staff at the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) office.
DPP Noordin Haji, in January 2019, appointed Murgor in the special prosecutors’ team.
Murgor was appointed alongside former Mombasa Mayor, Taib Ali Taib, and lawyer James Kihara Murithi as public prosecutors in a notice dated January 15.
Haji said the move was aimed at strengthening the capacity at his office in light of the increasing complexity of crime in Kenya.
The move followed a long rigorous process that began in September 2018.
A public advertisement was made that requested interested lawyers to apply for pre-qualification to join the panel of ODPP lawyers for legal services.
Haji said 15 applications were received and processed but three were pre-qualified.
And now, Tob Cohen’s family lawyer, Cliff Ombeta, claims he does not remember Murgor being degazetted as a special prosecutor, and, therefore, a conflict of interest might arise as he represents Sarah Wairimu in court.
The prosecution, led by Catherine Mwaniki, asked the High Court in Nairobi to grant them more time to establish whether Murgor is still attached to the DPP’s office.
Murgor, however, told Justice Stella Mutuku that he resigned from his post at the DPP’s office, and that he has a resignation letter dated March 2019 to prove his claim.
Mwaniki asked the court to push back Wairimu’s plea date to next week, a request that was granted by the court.
Wairimu, the key suspect in Tob Cohen’s murder, will, therefore, take plea on Tuesday, October 1.
Should the judge rule that Murgor is still assigned to the DPP’s office, then Sarah Wairimu could be forced to look for another lawyer, given Murgor would not qualify to represent the defense.