in

Court frees MP Mathew Lempurkel of murder charge

A Member of Parliament has been cleared of a murder charge linked to the gunning down of British rancher Tristan Voorspuy a month ago.

Laikipia North Member of Parliament Mathew Lempurkel walked out of a Nanyuki court a free man, a broad smile on his face, after the surprising turn of events.

“I did not expect the case would be dismissed after I learnt that the trial magistrate was away today,” Mr Lempurkel told the media outside the court after the ruling.

“To my understanding, my case was to be mentioned in a different court and a new mention date fixed.”

READ: Voorspuy killing: Lempurkel in soup

Mr Voorspuy’s body, dumped in Sosian Ranch hours after he went missing, was found with gunshot wounds.

The former British army officer had just returned from Nakuru and went to visit the site where cottages were burnt by herders, despite warnings from family members and security managers.

INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE
Ms Caroline Muriu, prosecutor, had told Senior Resident Magistrate Evans Ngige that detectives had failed to gather adequate incriminating evidence against the legislator.

She applied for the case file to be closed as she brought to the attention of the court that three herdsmen have since been arrested and were facing murder charges over the same matter.

Since his arrest on March 8 and incarceration at Nanyuki Police Station for a night, Mr Lempurkel had not taken a plea — even after the State indicated that he would be charged with the March 5 murder of the Sosian ranch co-owner.

On the two occasions that he has been arraigned, investigators requested for more time.

POLITICAL PERSECUTION
Indeed, his appearance on Monday was low-keyed compared to previous ones, when tens of his supporters, mostly clad in brightly coloured Samburu shukas, would mill around the court premises.

Yesterday, he had no lawyer — unlike on his first appearance on March 9, when Senator James Orengo was choppered from Nairobi to argue his ODM party colleague’s case.

The opposition MP had termed his arrest as political persecution, arguing that he was in Mombasa when the rancher was killed.

He reiterated that he would be happy to see the culprits brought to book, adding that he abhors violence.

The MP however has another case, of incitement to violence, in a Nanyuki court that is due for mention this month.

Security agencies have fingered him for encouraging herders from neighbouring counties of Isiolo and Samburu to invade private ranches in Laikipia.

ODM disciplinary team grills top leaders over violence cases

Private schools cry foul over laptop project