Eight suspects accused of masquerading as lawyers were on Wednesday arraigned before a Nanyuki court, Laikipia County, but did not plead to the charges after police sought more time to complete investigations.
County Criminal Investigations Officer Onesmus Towett said ten "lawyers" were initially arrested but two were released on Tuesday after it was established that they are genuine law practitioners. He said the two were new in town and were yet to report to the local LSK branch.
The prosecution had applied that they be remanded at the Nanyuki Police Station for two weeks to enable detectives to carry out investigations to determine if there is sufficient evidence to charge them.
But the suspect through their lawyer Kiogora Mugambi strongly defended the application and asked the court to release them on bond pending police investigations.
Resident Magistrate Risper Nyaga ordered that the suspects be detained at the police station and be presented to court on Thursday when she will rule on their release on bond.
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In the application, the prosecution prayed for more time to enable them to trace and record witness statements and also sought information from the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) on the professional status of the accused persons.
“I require time to get a report from LSK as to the status of the suspects in regard to their academic qualification, registration as advocates of the High Court, and whether they have been admitted to the bar. I also need time to take specimens of their handwriting and specimen of rubber stamp impression and forward them to the document examiner and have a report to help me make recommendations whether to charge or not,” said investigating Officer Evanson Kirwa in his sworn affidavit.
Those presented in court included Ms Faith Karimi, Ms Nancy Wangui, Mr Patrick Munuhe and Ms Purity Kagwiria.
Others were Ms Caroline Kuri, Ms Pauline Githui, Ms Pauline Mukari and Ms Evelyne Gesare
The eight were arrested on Tuesday evening in Nanyuki Town on suspicion that they have been swindling unsuspecting clients of money by pretending they were advocates of the High Court of Kenya and in a position to represent them on legal matters.
The court heard that advocates through the local chapter of LSK made a report at the Nanyuki Police Station last Tuesday complaining of fake lawyers, some of whom were conning their clients huge sums of money by carrying out legal transactions purportedly them to be genuine
Some of those presented in court on Wednesday are either former or present employees of law firms while others are running law firms and occasionally hire services of qualified advocates.
The defence lawyer Mr Mugambi while applying for the suspects' release on bond told the court that two women were employees of his law firm.
Mt Kenya Region LSK Chairman Joel Mutuma who was present in court said any transactions carried by an unqualified lawyer are null and void. He said the malpractice was rampant in the region and gave a recent case of a suspect arrested this week in Meru County after practicing illegally as a lawyer for one year.