Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bishop warned over remark

The Daily Nation

Published September 2, 2006


A clergyman has been warned against commenting on on the death of Catholic priest John Antony Kaiser, which is the subject of an inquiry.

Senior principal magistrate Maureen Odero, who is presiding over the team investigating the death, said Kenya Episcopal Conference chairman Archbishop John Njue had "no right to use the pulpit to make populist and unsubstantiated claims about the subject of the inquiry".

"While he is entitled to his own opinion and views, he is treading on a very thin line," said Ms Odero.

She said if he had any information relevant to the proceedings, he should share it with the inquiry.

She said the court did not wish to engage in sideshows and "warns Archbishop Njue and like-minded individuals to immediately desist from making any comments touching on the subject of the inquiry".

The magistrate said the court should be allowed to make its own conclusions based on evidence adduced.

She was making a ruling on an application made by a lawyer representing former Cabinet minister Julius Sunkuli, who wanted the cleric charged for contempt of court.

Archbishop Njue was speaking at a Mass to mark Fr Kaiser's anniversary. He said Fr Kaiser fought for the rights of the needy, including land clashes victims.

Other clerics who spoke at the function said they would not rest until the killers of the Mill Hill missionary were arrested.

Yesterday, a DNA specialist, Dr Solomon Mboke, told the inquiry that he carried out tests on a piece of bone believed to have been part of the late priest's skull.

The bone was found by Naivasha Catholic parish workers on September 19, 2000, as they cleared the Morendant junction site on the Nakuru-Naivasha highway for the priest's first memorial service.

The witness said from the tests, there was a likelihood that it belonged to the priest.

Fr Kaiser's body was found on August 24, 2000, near the junction on the Nakuru-Naivasha highway, with his head blown off and a shotgun by his side.

The inquiry will resume on November 1.

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