The high court of Kenya has block Chief Justice, Martha Koome from gagging lawyers.
This is in regards to the presidential petition. Chief Justice Martha Koome required all lawyers to refrain from making comments while the presidential petition is still in court.
Justice Mugure has declared the supreme court petition as unlawful and unconstitutional.
Chief Justice Martha Koome in her defence stated that, gagging the lawyers from speaking was to maintain the integrity of the case.
She stated,”A declaration is issued that the disputed rules are unconstitutional for want of public participation and for usurpation of Parliament’s role in legislating on contempt and making penal provisions.”
She, Chief Justice further stated that the media is required not to broadcast any presidential petition proceedings
She said,The rules equally limit, unjustifiably so, the freedom of the media by which freedom, the state is prohibited from exercising control or interfering with any person broadcasting, producing or circulating and disseminating publications or information by any medium.”
The petition filed by lawyer Ombati stated the declaration was unconstitutional, vague and oppressive on their part.
Together with other advocates they said,”The rules equally limit, unjustifiably so, the freedom of the media by which freedom, the state is prohibited from exercising control or interfering with any person broadcasting, producing or circulating and disseminating publications or information by any medium.”
They further stated that the constitution allows for freedom of expression, the Chief Justice barring them is oppression.
They said,”In so far as every citizen is entitled to access information, the disputed rules unjustifiably and unreasonably fetter the enjoyment of this right by censuring persons who honestly, and in good faith, issue commentaries on cases before the courts for the enlightenment of the populace or critiquing the judiciary with a view to hold it accountable.”
The high court however rule that,”commencement of the hearing of the petition by the court, litigants, their advocates and advocates’ agents shall refrain from expressing their opinion on merit, demerit or predict the outcome of the petition in any manner that would prejudice or impede court proceedings, until judgment is delivered.”