1.George Amatieku Opollo (the applicant) was an accused person in Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Court at Nairobi in Milimani Criminal Case No. 1564 of 2010 whereby he was found guilty as charged and convicted for the offence of conspiracy to defraud contrary to section 317 of the Penal Code way back in June 2016. He appears to have filed an appeal against that conviction and sentence before the High Court.
2.In what appears to be a different matter filed before the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC), (namely ELRC No. 740 of 2014) the applicant’s claim was dismissed by Radido, J. on March 13, 2020. This dismissal prompted the applicant to file a Notice of appeal before this Court dated March 16, 2020 but filed on April 3, 2020. The Notice of Appeal was filed on time. The applicant however, deposes that the said Notice of appeal was inadvertently served on the office of Director of Public Prosecutions on August 7, 2020 instead of being served on the respondents herein. According to the applicant the confusion in service arose due to the existence of the criminal appeal I have mentioned above.
3.From the Notice of appeal annexed to the applicant’s affidavit, the same was served on the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on August 7, 2020. Clearly, even if the Notice of Appeal had been served on the correct party, it was served 4 months late, outside the timelines provided under Rule 79 of the Rules of this Court. We are not told exactly when the said mistake was discovered prompting the applicant to move his Court under Certificate of Urgency vide the Notice of Motion now before me, which is pronounced to be predicated on a raft of provisions from the Constitution to the Civil Procedure Act.
4.Primarily however, the relevant law is Rule 4 of the Court of Appeal Rules (hereafter the Rules). In the said application the applicant seeks leave of the Court to file and serve the Notice of Appeal and Appeal out of time. The motion is supported by the applicant’s affidavit sworn on September 27, 2021. The applicant deposes that the respondent will not be prejudiced if leave to file the appeal is granted and that it will be fair and just for the Court to do so. There is no deposition whatsoever alluding to the length and reasons for the delay.
5.The motion is opposed by the respondent through grounds of opposition dated February 2, 2022. No submissions were filed in this matter but the respondent’s counsel filed a list of authorities. In the grounds of opposition, the respondent states that the application falls short of the threshold for extension of time under Rule 4 of the Rules. The respondent contends the delay is inordinate (from March, 2020 to September 27, 2021) and that no reason has been given for the delay; neither the impugned judgment nor the memorandum of appeal have been attached and so the Court is unable to assess whether or not the applicant has an appeal with chances of succeeding; and finally, that the respondent will be prejudiced if leave is granted as litigation must come to an end.
6.I have considered all the material placed before me. I am not in the habit of castigating counsel, but in this case I am constrained to say that I am very disappointed in the overall lackadaisical manner in which counsel for the applicant handled this matter. This is not just a case of inadvertence on the part of counsel, but in my view, it smacks of ineptness. The only thing they got right was to file the Notice of Appeal on time. The said notice of appeal was thereafter not only served on a totally irrelevant party, but it was also served on them 4 months late. No reason whatsoever has been proffered for that delay. Even after serving the notice on the wrong party, the further delay of 12 months has not been explained and there has not been the slightest attempt to explain it.
7.The law in this area is settled and the guidelines the court has to consider when faced with an application to extend time are clear and have been reiterated in many matters before this Court and even before the Supreme Court. This Court in its recent decision in Muringa Company Ltd v. Archdiocese of Nairobi Registered Trustees  eKLR stated as follows:
8.None of the above requirements have been met. In as much as sympathise with the applicant for the debacle he finds himself in, the law must be complied with and my sympathy does not account for much.
9.I need not say more. This application is grossly deficient of the ingredients necessary in order for it to succeed. Accordingly, the application is dismissed with costs to the respondent.