A Kitui court on Wednesday directed Philip Isika Tito, driver of county government’s fire engine that crashed former Mayor Martha Mwangangi to death, to undergo a psychiatric exam before facing murder charges.
The State Counsel, led by Margaret Matiru, told Resident Magistrate Rose Ombata that the prosecution had concluded investigations into the deadly accident and preferred murder charges against Mr Tito.
Ms Matiru said the lower court lacked jurisdiction to handle such a matter and requested the court to order further detention of the accused at Kitui GK Prison until the High Court resumes duty.
“We also pray this court to order mental assessment of the suspect to ascertain whether he is fit to stand trial before he is officially charged,” she added.
The court directed that the suspect be remanded until January 12, 2017 when his case will be mentioned for submission of the psychiatric assessment report and fixation of a date for the subsequent plea.
Isika was first arraigned in court on December 19 where the court granted detectives, led by Investigating Officer Inspector Julius Omari, seven more days to conclude their probe into the incident.
There was confusion after police arraigned Mr Tito in court instead of a John Nzuki whom the police had earlier told journalists they were holding in connection with the fatal accident.
But County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich and County Police Commander Cheruto Githinji said that there was a mix up in the names and that the person who actually drove the fire engine was Mr Tito.
Mrs Mwangangi was killed on December 16 after protests against demolition of kiosks in Kitui Town turned tragic.
She had joined the protests alongside former Land Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu to show solidarity with the affected traders.
Eyewitnesses said the driver was trying to scare away the rowdy crowd that was threatening to torch another county vehicle outside Kitui Central Police Station when he accidentally ran over Ms Mwangangi and missed Ngilu narrowly.