Six police officers accused of killing two brothers in Kianjokoma village in Embu County were finally charged in a dramatic day in court when six lawyers walked out on them.
The six, Benson Mputhia, Consolata Njeri, Martin Wanyama, Nicholas Sang, Lillian Cherono and James Mwaniki could not believe it when all their attempts to block the charges hit a dead wall when Justice Daniel Ogembo dismissed their final attempt to derail the plea taking.
They pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder in which the prosecution alleged that they killed 22-year old Benson Njiru Ndwiga and his 19-year-old brother Emmanuel Mutura Ndwiga on the night of August 1 at Kianjokoma village in Embu North sub-county.
The drama started when the accused officers refused to give instructions to six lawyers who had been appointed by the court to represent them arguing that they did not want to be represented by state appointed counsels.
Lawyer Dunstan Omari, who on Tuesday withdrew from representing the accused alongside nine other lawyers, then resurfaced with another set of four lawyers claiming that they had fresh instructions to represent them.
It came as a surprise to the other parties as it prompted a back and forth argument which led to the appointed six lawyers to walk out.
“We spoke with the accused and reached an agreement on the way forward only for them to call us back asking why the government would appoint lawyers for them when they can afford their own. It is not tenable to act for them and we are requesting to be discharged,” said one of the lawyers.
To end the confusion, Justice Ogembo asked each of the accused to name the lawyer they wanted to represent them for which they opted for the Omari team.
As soon as the state appointed lawyers left, Mr Omari brought a fresh application to stop the charges arguing that the Director of Public Prosecution did not follow the right procedure in approving the charges.
According to the lawyer, the DPP should have filed an application for public inquest into the death of the two brothers instead of charging the six cops.
But state prosecutor Jecinter Nyamosi opposed the application arguing that the accused had filed a similar application before the constitutional court which was dismissed.
“They filed a similar application insisting that we should have filed a public inquest but they failed to get the orders and are now filing another application through the back door to stop the six accused from taking plea,” said Nyamosi.
Justice Ogembo agreed with the DPP and ordered that the accused plead to the charges after three hours of back and forth, ruling that they can still challenge the charges at any point of their trial and the court will release them is satisfied with the application for public inquest.
The prosecution’s case is that the six cops jointly murdered the two brothers at Kianjokoma Trading Centre when they were heading home with their friends on the night of August 1.
According to an investigation report filed in court, the two brothers were returning home at 10.30 PM when one of them spotted a police vehicle parked around a corner and a police officer armed with a long stick on patrol, approaching the direction where they were.
He alerted the others and they started running back in the direction they were coming from when one of them tripped and fell.
The officers on patrol caught with them, arrested and bundled them in the police vehicle. No one knew what happened to the brothers while they were in the police vehicles as their bodies were found lying on a straight line 35 meters apart.
A post-mortem report concluded that the two were killed using a blunt object with multiple injuries on their heads.
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