A Kenyan man identified as James Kimathi Muthuri was arrested on Monday, April 17, following a raid by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) at his office and arraigned for impersonation.
The suspect has now been detained in police custody by a Court in Meru for engaging in legal practice without a license for one year.
Appearing before Tigania Law Court Magistrate Rose Ongila on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, the suspect pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge, claiming he works in his uncle’s law firm and is currently still pursuing a law degree.
However, LSK said the office does appear in their list of law firms in Kenya. Marias Maranya, the lawyer representing the LSK, said;
“Muthuri has been masquerading as an advocate and indeed appeared before court number 3 and represented clients when he knows he is not qualified.
“He even had the audacity of opening a law office in a market called Muriri but when LSK officials raided the office to seek the licences, the man literally took off.”
The matter was scheduled to be mentioned before another court on May 2, 2023, since the alleged fake lawyer appeared before Magistrate Rose Ongila as an advocate on all his cases.
The magistrate recused herself from the case, arguing that she is a person of interest or otherwise a witness in the case. She said;
“The accused person appeared before this court on March 28, 2023, acting as an advocate. It is clear from the above that I cannot hear or make any decision on the matter since potentially am a witness…so to promote fair hearing I recuse myself from handling this matter.”
The suspect was denied bail and will be detained for 14 days.