Milimani chief magistrate Lucas Onyina said that Section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) gives an option for a case to start afresh “in the event a trial magistrate ceases to hear it.”
Also, Onyina explained that the law also permits suspects in the trial to allow the incoming magistrate to proceed from where the initial magistrate had penned off.
In the Sh180m fake laptop case, lawyers for Chesang and his co-accused opted to proceed from where Ms Mutuku had stopped.
“The defence has opted to proceed from where Ms Mutuku had left before being transferred to head Mombasa Law Courts,” lawyer Stephen Kang’ahi told Mr Onyina.
Kang’ahi said all the defence wanted was the recalling of one prosecution witness.
State prosecutor Anderson Gikunda did not oppose the plea by defence lawyers and he added that the suspects shall be furnished with a typed-proceedings to prepare their defences.
Adjourning the case to commence June 12, 2023, Mr Onyina said all the accused persons will be furnished with typed proceedings and any other document they would wish to be availed.
Chesang and other suspects through their lawyers had asked court to start the trial a fresh since the matter has never proceeded since 2021.
But the magistrate ruled that the matter should proceed from wherever it stopped as only two witnesses had testified in the case.
Mr Gikunda told the magistrate that The prosecution said they were ready with the hearing with one witness present.
The defence asked for an adjournment as the fourth accused was not present in court.
The case was in 2021 postponed after Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku was transferred to Mombasa.
Senator Chesang is charged alongside; Teddy Awiti, Kevin Matundura Nyongesa, Augustine Wambua Matata, Joy Wangari Kamau, James William Makokha alias Mr. Wanyonyi, and Johan Ochieng Osore.
“The seven accused persons are faced with seven counts, including conspiracy to defraud; making a document without authority; obtaining goods by false pretences; handling stolen goods; and abuse of abuse,” noted the prosecution.
The court heard that Chesang and his co-accused conspired to defraud Makindu Motors of 2,800 laptops worth Ksh.180 million in a fake tender to the office of the then Deputy President William Ruto on August 12, 2018.
The accused denied the charges and were freed on bond.
Witnesses who appeared in court explained how Chesang was involved in the fake laptop scam linking the office of the then DP now Kenya’s fifth President Dr William Samoei Ruto.
Onyina directed the accused to return for the renewed hearing June 12, 2023.