A priest who allegedly wedded Meru Senator Mithika Linturi and his first wife Mercy Kaimenyi ha testified that he would not have officiated the ceremony if he new the senator had children with other women.
Father Jason Micheni told the court that according to the Catholic church laws, marriages where one of the spouses has children outside the relationship can not be officiated.
The priest further denied allegations that the senator and his wife were no longer together and that he had married his now estranged wife Marianne Kitany.
According to him, he has known the senator for over 20 years and claimed they are ‘connected’.
He was however surprised to see that Linturi filled his University of Nairobi application form spouse part as separated in 2013.
Before the priest testified, Linturi’s lawyer Muthomi Thiankolu asked the court to have their witnesses testify in camera.
The court heard that the parties had agreed that the respondents would decide whether to do their case in public or in camera.
Muthomi told the court that it was Kitany who insisted that her evidence be given in public and they indulged her.
According to him, there is no public interest in the matter and that it is a purely private affair between two private individuals.
However, Kitany’s lawyer Dunstan Omari responded saying that the respondents cross-examined her in public and now want them to cross-examine their witnesses in camera unless the priest had something to hide.
Omari said that Linturi is a public officer paid by the public and therefore has no private life.
It was his submission that Kenyans have a right to understand and investigate who the senator is and the people who attended the wedding have a right to know why the marriage was dissolved.
In his ruling, Chief Magistrate Peter Gesora ruled that the respondents had a right to choose whether to do their case in camera or in public.
Omari asked the court to stay the procedding as the were disatified with the ruling and wanted to appeal it.
He said that his client felt that her rights had been infringed.
On hearing that, Linturi’s lawyer said they would forego the wish and choose to have the matter proceed in public to avoid wasting time as applicants appealed.
To balance the issue, the Magistrate directed that examination-in-chief be done in camera while the cross-examination be done in public.
However, the respondents chose to forgo the option and chose to have matter in public.
The hearing will continue on 15th October.