Late lawyer Willie Kimani murder: Five put on defense
Four police officers and an informer have a case to answer in the murder of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri on June 23, 2016, the High Court ruled yesterday.
Justice Jessie Lessit put the five on their defence saying the prosecution had established a prima faciecase against all of them.
“After considering the evidence, I have come to a conclusion that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against all of the accused, and therefore, place all of them on their defence,” Justice Lessit ruled.
Accused police officers are: Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku, Leonard Mwangi and informer Peter Ngugi.
The five accused persons will give a sworn defence evidence in the matter and each will be calling defence witnesses.
Leliman and Sylvia have four witnesses each, Mwangi has seven witnesses and Ngugi has one. Cheburet does not have any witness.
The three victims were allegedly kidnapped after leaving Mavoko Law Courts on June 23, 2016.
Their bodies were later found dumped in Ol Donyo Sabuk, Machakos county.
Prosecution closed its case last week on Thursday after calling 46 witnesses in the murder case which has been dragging in court since 2016.
Among those who testified are; police officers, Willie’s former colleagues, witnesses who discovered bodies floating in the river and a boda boda rider who the prosecution said was the last person Willie talked to and who picked a distress note allegedly written by the lawyer on a tissue paper.
A confession statement by Ngugi detailing how they killed the three was also tabled in court.
Relatives of the three deceased persons asked the court to expedite the matter which has taken five years now.
Stella Grace Muiruri, a sister of the late Joseph Muiruri told the press outside Milimani Law Courts that the case should be expedited as every time the case is mentioned and heard, it reopens deep wounds.
“My brother did not deserve to die, his life was cut short because he was the taxi driver and maybe he had no idea what was going on. All of them did not deserve to die,” she said.
An emotional Stella said six years after the death of their loved ones, they are yet to come to terms with the issue.
Simon Njenga Kinuthia, brother to the late Willie Kimani said the suspects if found guilty should face the full face of the law as a lesson to other people who may be harbouring such motive. Kinuthia described Willie as a loving, joyful, humble and kind person.
International Justice Mission, where Willie worked, commended the prosecution and all the investigative agencies for putting together a strong case that convinced the court that the accused persons had a case to answer.
“Placing the five accused persons on defence is a positive move in realising justice for Willie, Joseph and Josephat,” said Benson Shamala. Hearing of the defence starts September 27.