NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 20 – Traffic Commandant Charlton Muriithi has defended the decision to hold Apostle James Ng’ang’a responsible for the Limuru road accident that claimed Mercy Njeri’s life last month.
Responding to Ng’ang’a’s accusation that the police succumbed to media pressure, Muriithi on Thursday told the High Court that the decision to prosecute Ng’ang’a was taken independently by the Director of Public Prosecutions upon a review of evidence gathered.
He said the police recommendation to the DPP for Ng’ang’a’s prosecution was also based on evidence collected and not on media reports.
“The petitioner has appeared on national television of his own volition where he discussed the matter at length hence contributing to the negative publicity,” Muriithi defended the police in his replying affidavit to the petition Ng’ang’a filed with the High Court on Wednesday challenging his prosecution.
Muriithi said the initial decision to prosecute Simon Maina Kuria for Njeri’s death did not call into question – as Ng’ang’a had argued – the decision to prosecute him.
Muriithi blamed the decision on the negligence of the officer in-charge of the Tigoni Traffic Sub-Base Office, who is also facing prosecution.
“Investigations have since revealed that the petitioner was indeed the driver of the Range Rover Sport, red in colour that was involved in the fatal road accident in which one Mercy Njeri lost her life.”
“Investigations and statements from eyewitness accounts further reveal that the said motor vehicle was driven in a manner which was dangerous to the public by being driven on the wrong lane while overtaking dangerously at the time of the accident,” Muriithi stated.
Justice Weldon Korir has directed that the petition be mentioned on September 28 when a hearing date for the substantive issues raised in the petition will be set.
Ng’ang’a’s lawyers Assa Nyakundi and Cliff Ombeta had on Wednesday sought conservatory orders against his prosecution but following his arraignment on Thursday it was decided that the application would be held in abeyance and the Constitutional and Human Rights Court would go straight into hearing and making a determination on the substantive issues raised therein.
“Let’s not waste any time and get straight into it,” Justice Weldon Korir directed. “I’d like to see the petition dispensed with before the criminal trial is set to begin.”