NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – Four Administration Police officers accused of murdering human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and a taxi driver have denied the charges before the High Court.
Senior Sergeant Fredrick Leliman, Sergeant Leonard Mwangi Maina, Corporal Stephen Cheburet Morogo and Constable Silvia Wanjiku Wanjohi were charged with three counts of murder for the deaths of Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and their driver Joseph Muiruri who have since all been buried.
The four appeared before Justice Jessie Lessit on Monday, who gave the prosecution a month to compile all the evidence it had on them before the next court appearance.
“The prosecution should be able to obtain all their witnesses and the exhibits that are required to be relied upon in the trial and also to have the chance to decide which of the witnesses they would wish to call for their case, and I was also looking at the great public interest this case has generated,” she stated.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Mutuku stated that 45 witnesses will be called to testify over a period of three weeks in the case which has drawn a lot of public interest and seen lawyers demonstrating against extra-judicial killings.
“There are quite a huge number of statements which are being typed and my lady we are going to compile the bundle together with other pieces of evidence that will accompany the same and provide them to the defence. That will happen in a month’s time,” he told the court.
Justice Lessit set the mention date for August 16 and directed Leliman, Maina, and Morogo be remanded at the Industrial Area Remand Prison while Wanjiku will be detained at the Lang’ata Women’s Prison.
“I am giving the prosecution the chance to prepare their case within the period of one month which they have requested and I am also making a further order that the bail application if any and the hearing date will be considered at a later date,” she ruled.
The Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro had been scheduled to appear before Justice Luka Kimaru of the High Court to give a status update on investigations into Kimani, Mwenda and Muiruri’s deaths.
The lawyer representing the four officers Cliff Ombeta maintained that he is doing so because he believes in the rule of law despite criticism from his peers.
In an interview, Ombeta stated that he has not received any money from the four and that his participation as their representative in court would ensure the case progressed smoothly.
“I am standing tall today and with my pride intact. This is because I am the only one on that particular day out of the 12,000 lawyers in this country who stood by the law. It is an oath of office which says that you shall do your case without fear or favour. If we want justice for the families and you cannot represent these people, the case can never start. This is what the lawyers were forgetting,” he said.
He further pointed out that any person facing charges should be presumed innocent unless proven otherwise and the four had not been tried yet.
READ: Court orders 14 days detention of 3 cops in lawyer Kimani murder
“If the police are lacking evidence, let the innocent people go. Do your investigations. Do not rush it because there is public interest. Do not rush it because of public interest but if you have evidence, bring it on,” he stated.
He however pointed out that he is against extra-judicial killings and participated in the demonstrations by lawyers although he had a placard written ‘Justice for All.’