Kenya: Lady Justice Lessit Quashes Recusal Bid in Governor Obado's Murder Trial

Migori Governor Okoth Obado (R), his personal assistant Michael Oyamo (C) and County Clerk Casper Obiero in a Nairobi Court on May 29, 2019, during the hearing of an application for judge Jessie Lessit to recuse herself from the case.

Nairobi — Migori Governor Okoth Obado has lost an application seeking to have Lady Justice Jessie Lessit recuse herself from hearing a case in which he is accused of killing Rongo University student Sharon Otieno in 2018.

Delivering her ruling on Friday, Lady Justice Lessit said claims that she was biased against Obado and two co-accused persons in the case had not been proven in the application for recusal.

"He who alleges must prove and in this case the two applicants have failed to prove bias of this Court," she ruled.

"The applicants in this case have laboured on the wrong interpretation of the court's ruling because other than apprehension of bias which is a state of mind no other ground has been advanced," Lady Justice Lessit added.

Obado and his personal assistant Micheal Oyamo claimed the judge had a fixed mind on the case.

The Judge further explained that there was no instance during the hearing that the she had made an adverse comment which would insinuate she had made up her mind on the outcome of the case.

The accused persons had sought Justice Lesit's recusal on grounds that having previously denied them bail they are unlikely to get a fair trial.

Lady Justice Lessit however defended her decision to deny them bail saying it was premised on the likelihood of possible interference of potential witnesses.

Their release, she added, would send fear, anxiety and result in intimidation of the witnesses.

The court said Obado and Oyamo had failed to prove conflict of interest on the part of the trial judge.

The prosecution and Otieno's family had urged the court to dismiss the application arguing it was meant to delay and frustrate the case.

Obado and Oyamo have denied murdering 26-year-old Otieno, an offence they allegedly committed between September 3 and 4 2018, at Owade area in Rachuonyo sub-county, Homa Bay County.

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