Six cops implicated in Embu killings detained for 14 days
Six police officers implicated in the death of two brothers in Kianjokoma, Embu county, were yesterday detained for 14 days to allow police to complete investigations.
The six: Two corporals and four constables are Benson Mputhia, Consolata Kariuki, Nicholas Cheruiyot, Martin Wanyama, Lilian Chemuna and James Mwaniki.
They appeared before senior principal magistrate David Ndungi, their faces covered with hoods and shawls, looking down to avoid eye contact with anyone.
The Magistrate allowed the State application to detain the officers from Manyatta Police Station saying it was necessary to give investigators enough time to complete investigations.
“Murder charges are serious because they increase the possibility of interfering with witnesses who of course will need to be put under witness protection program,” ruled the Magistrate.
The officers represented themselves before the Magistrate opposing the application to be detained for 14 days. Only one had a lawyer.
The State and the family had a battery of lawyers who came to seek the detention of the six.
Prosecution team was led by assistant DPP Jacinta Nyamosi while the family was led by LSK President Nelson Havi.
In the application seeking to detain the suspects, Nyamosi argued there was a need to protect key witnesses so they can help with the investigations.
“There is a need to extract data from communication devices from the respondents, the deceased person’s phones and potential witnesses so that the investigations are not compromised,” she argued.
Tension in community
Nyamosi also noted that there has been a lot of tension within the community where the deceased brothers were residing and a lot of concern in the social media.
“This shows this is a matter of public interest and we need to show there is commitment by the republic with intent to provide justice,” she told the court.
She argued that the investigations were complex as there were various places of investigation that needed to be crystalized.
The application was supported by Nelson Havi who argued that there was a public outrage and the six should be held in custody even as investigations are being taken.
“The motor vehicle where Benson and Emmanuel are alleged to have jumped off was torched in unclear circumstances that may lead to be described as distraction of evidence.
There is sufficient need to ensure there is no interference in the investigation,” he said.
The officers who represented themselves except for one, objected to the application.
One of the accused persons, Mputhia requested for seven days instead arguing that the investigators were on the ground for the last two weeks.
“The last two weeks the Investigating officers were on ground conducting investigations, none of the Police officers interfered with the witnesses. I request the court to give them seven days,” he told the court.
Lawyer representing Consolata Kariuki, also objected to the application arguing no complete evidence had been tendered to warrant granting the orders sought.
“What before you is an affidavit by officer named Ibrahim Shunu whom from the best of our knowledge is not a resident of Embu.
It could have been prudent for the said officer to annex evidence preferably in form of affidavits from people on the ground mostly witnesses indicating any form of harassment or interference,” he argued.
The other four officers also argued that the investigations had been done for two weeks and there was no way they could interfere with them because they did not know the witnesses.
They argued that their mobile phones were taken away from them and they had no power to interfere with data extraction.
Magistrate Ndugi in denying their appeal noted that they were police officers capable of interfering with the witnesses.
“This court cannot close its eyes to the fact that they are police officers who had been attached to Manyatta Police station Embu where the alleged offense and death occurred. They are not ordinary people and can interfere with witnesses,” he ruled.
According to the Magistrate, fourteen days is not a long time considering that there may be a need to place the witness under the witness protection.
“I agree with DPP and family of the victim that it is a matter of great public interest, Kenyans, the people of Embu and the family members of the deceased would like to know what killed the two brothers, this can only be achieved by giving the investigators sufficient time to investigate the murder and gather evidence,” he ruled.