COURT QUASH CONTEMPT OF COURT AGAINST TV HOST JEFF KOINANGE.

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T.V seasonal journalist Jeff Koinange,(right) hugs political analyst Tony Gachoka when the two met at Milimani commercial courts for a hearing of a contempt case against them on Friday 5 June 2015.

BY SAM ALFAN.

The High Court has quashed contempt proceedings against T.V seasonal journalist Jeff Koinange and controversial political activist Tony Gachoka in the defamation suit lodged against them by businessman Jimmy Wanjigi, his brother Sani Wanjigi and Kwacha Group of Companies.

The duo, who have been out on Sh100,000 cash bail, had been found guilty and fined Sh2million or six months imprisonment on June 5, 2015, for failure to appear before a magistrate’s court for the hearing of the defamation suit.

They were alleged to have disobeyed court orders barring them from defaming the Wanjigis.

Milimani Senior resident Magistrate Maisy Chesang had issued a warrant for their arrest but they petitioned the High Court to have it suspended on the basis they had never been served with court summons.

High Court Judge Roselyne Aburili ruled on Monday that the procedure adopted by the magistrate in handling the contempt proceedings was improper and irregular and she had no power to do so. Further, the two contemnors were not given an opportunity to offer their mitigation before the punishment was pronounced, she said.

Justice Aburili said Koinange and Gachoka had a right to challenge the magistrate’s decision but any aggrieved person ought to exhaust all available legal remedies, including judicial review. She ruled that the magistrate had compromised their right to fair trial.

Wanjigi sued Koinange and Gachoka for allegedly linking the family’s flagship company to the controversial Anglo-Leasing security projects. They are alleged to have uttered the offending statements in two different talk-shows hosted by Koinange in the Kenya Television Network on May 15, 2014 and on March 12 and 13, 2015.

The two men had protested that they had been punished unfairly since they had not been furnished with the specific words the complainants had alleged constituted defamation.

They denied having deliberately painted the Wanjigis and the firm in bad light.

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