Suspects in lawyer’s murder case to remain in custody

Four Administration Police officers and an informer accused of killing human rights lawyer Willy Kimani, his client and a taxi driver will remain in custody until February 13, next year when their trial resumes.

Justice Lessit directed that the case against the five who will remain behind bars during Christmas and New Year holidays will proceed until it is determined without being adjourned.

The trial judge Ruth Sitati had earlier fixed the case for hearing on January 9, but had to be adjourned to enable her attend some official functions within that month.

Justice Lessit was told by the prosecution led by a deputy director of public prosecutions Nicholas Mutuku assisted by Duncan Ondimu, Catherine Mwaniki and Daniel Karuri that 58 witnesses have been lined up.

Two witnesses have testified so far.

Justice Lessit was further informed that some of the witnesses are “under the witness protection agency and that the trial should be fast tracked.”

The suspects bail application was rejected on December 8.

In her ruling, Justice Lessit rejected the suspects application saying they will intimidate and interfere with witnesses “in this case of immense and astronomical public interest”.

She said victims were professionals, who were pursuing their call of duty when their lives were cut short.

“Willy Kimani was an advocate, while his client Josephat Mwenda was a brave boda boda. The third — Joseph Muiruri — was a taxi driver, who eked out a living by transporting clients,” the judge said.

“The accused are not civilians but officers who swore to protect the lives of people, and property and ensure peace prevails,” adds the judge.

The judge said though Senior Sergeant Fredrick ole Leliman, Sgt Leonard Mwangi Maina, Constable Sylvia Wanjiku Wanjohi, Constable Stephen Morogo and police informer Peter Ngugi Kamau were presumed innocent until proved guilty, testimony by the Director of Public Prosecutions during the bail application “showed they abdicated duty and meted out brutality in executing the three.”

The prosecution said Kimani and Mwenda were waylaid as they left the Mavoko court, kidnapped, detained, executed and their badly mutilated bodies stashed into sacks and thrown into a river.

The five have denied killing the three on June 23, at Soweto in Mlolongo, Machakos County.

Lawyer Cliff Ombeta for the accused had applied for their release on bond, saying it is their constitutional right.

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