A senior police officer on Friday had a hard time explaining to court why he did not record a report on the assault of baby Samantha Pendo despite having knowledge of the incident.
Despite being informed of the matter, Mr John Thiringi, who was the then Kisumu Central OCS, was accused of attempting to conceal the assault on the six-month baby.
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights lawyer Charles Onyango told the court it was wrong for Mr Thiringi to keep quiet after he confirmed that the child was admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital on August 12, 2017.
LEFT MESSAGE FOR PARENTS
But Mr Thiringi, a chief inspector of police now based at Moi’s Bridge Police Station in Gilgil, maintained that the parents or relatives of the child were the ones who were supposed to make a report at the police station.
“This was a serious matter and I therefore left a message to the parents or relatives of the deceased to report the incident to the police so that action could be taken,” he said.
Just like in cases where police report incidents where a dead body is found by the roadside, Mr Onyango pointed out that the police had the responsibility of reporting baby Pendo’s case at their desk.
The incident was reported on August 16, 2017 at Nyalenda Police Post by the baby’s father, Mr Joseph Abanja, five days after it happened.
During cross examination by Prosecutor Nyakundi Mokaya, Mr Thiringi said officers who were deployed in the area at the time of the incident included a joint force of the General Service Unit, Administration Police officers and the general duty officers who were under the command of then Kisumu Central OCPD Christopher Mutune.
However, he could not tell the court the exact number of security personnel deployed, saying the information can be found from the operation order, a document that contains the names of officers involved in an operation and the weapons assigned to them.
Government consultant pathologist, Dr Dickson Mchana, who also testified Friday, told the court that the child died due to internal bleeding which was caused by severe head injuries from blunt trauma.
“The cause of death was severe head injury, secondary to blunt force trauma as opposed to sharp object. There was bleeding above and below the brain cover and into the brain,” said Mr Mchana.
His testimony concurred with that of Dr Sam Oula, a paediatrician who attended to baby Pendo when she was admitted to hospital until the time she died.
“She was pale and had a swelling on the head. She was not responding to treatment and the scans showed that the injury affected the part of the brain responsible for supporting life.
“The cause of death was bleeding in the brain. It was caused by blunt trauma,” said Dr Oula in court on Thursday.
They were testifying before Senior Resident Magistrate Beryl Omollo at the Kisumu High Court in an inquest which seeks to establish the killers of Samantha.
Baby Pendo died in August 2018 after allegedly being clobbered on the head by police who were quelling unrest that rocked Kisumu after President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner of the presidential election.
The inquest was ordered by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The inquest hearing will continue on Monday.