Judge saves Tony Gachoka, orders his release from prison
The High Court has saved businessman cum political activist Tony Gachoka from serving a six months jail term for contempt of court.
Justice Weldon Korir on Monday ordered the immediate release of Mr Gachoka from Industrial Area Prison, ruling that he has raised a strong appeal against his conviction and which will be overtaken by events if he continues being in jail.
“Mr Gachoka had already approached this court seeking a review of the contempt of court proceedings, which application will be overtaken by events if he is in prison. I therefore order his immediate release pending determination of his appeal,” ruled Korir.
DISOBEYING COURT ORDER
Mr Gachoka, alongside television talk show host Jeff Koinange, were on Friday last week fined Sh2 million or serve six months in jail for disobeying a court order.
Also fined similar amounts were Standard Group company secretary Carol Cheruiyot.
Whereas Mr Koinage was able to pay the Sh2 million fine, Mr Gachoka could not raise the amount leading to his imprisonment.
Mr Koinange and Mr Gachoka’s tribulations are as a result of a dispute with businessman Jimi Wanjigi, his brother Sani Mbui Wanjigi and Kwacha Group of Companies Limited.
The dispute started in March when the complainants obtained orders barring Mr Koinange, KTN Television and the Standard Media Group from broadcasting or publishing defamatory statement concerning them and the company.
Despite serving the order, the three complained that Mr Koinange invited Mr Gachoka on his “Jeff Koinange Live” talk show on April 1 and went ahead to discuss what they were barred from broadcasting.
The businessmen then filed a contempt of court case against them, leading to a protracted court battle until Mr Koinange and Mr Gachoka were arrested for failing to honour court summons.
The magistrate first issued a warrant of arrest against Mr Koinange and businessman Tony Gachoka on May 13, after which they were released on a cash bail of Sh100,000 and Sh50,000 respectively.
The two were then directed to attend court last week but Mr Koinange failed to turn up, leading to fresh warrant of arrest.
Mr Koinange presented himself before Ms Chesang on Tuesday afternoon and apologised for failing to honour a court summon and explained why he skipped the court session to attend a conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Ms Chesang released him on a cash bail of Sh200,000 after he forrfeited Sh100,000 he earlier deposited for skipping the court session.