NAIROBI, Kenya, July 22 – The High Court has found three police officers and a civilian guilty of the murder of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and a taxi driver six years ago.
The deceased were abducted as they left the Mavoko courthouse on June 23, 2016, before their bodies were discovered at the Oldonyo Sabuk River wrapped in burlap sacks a week later.
The case against Senior Sergeant Fredrick Leliman (1st accused), Stephen Chebulet (2nd accused), Sylvia Wanjiku (3rd accused) and a civilian Peter Ngugi (5th accused) was presided over by Judge Jessie Lessit, who was appointed judge of the Court of Appeal. during the trial but retained the case following an administrative decision.
The court acquitted the fourth defendant, Sergeant Leonard Mwangi, of all charges.
When releasing the verdict on Friday, Judge Lessit said the prosecution had proven the four beyond a reasonable doubt, hence the court’s finding that they were guilty of three counts. charge of murder.
“I therefore reject their defences, find them guilty of the charges against them and sentence them accordingly under Article 322 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” Judge Lessit said.
Judge Lessit said she had established that Leliman had a motive to murder the second deceased, Joseph Mwenda.
“I find that the first defendant (Leliman) had a reason to silence the deceased because his job was at stake due to the case that Mwenda filed at the IPOA,” she said referring to an investigation by the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) into the officer’s conduct.
The other convicts, Chebulet and Wanjiku, and Ngugi, were found principal culprits.
Judge Lessit said the four had 14 days to appeal the decision.
She referred the case to the president of the criminal division for sentencing, saying that having rendered her decision, she was official function and would therefore continue his mandate as a judge on the Court of Appeal.
Justice Lessit added that a sentencing date will be given once a victim assessment report is finalized.