The High Court in Nyeri has acquitted two chang’aa traders charged with the murder of a police officer for lack of sufficient evidence.
Mr Moses Karani and Douglas Kuria were set free by Justice Teresiah Matheka after battling the charges for more than six year. They were in remand prison during the trial period.
“It is a sad case. The suspects were arrested by the public, taken to police but investigations did not gather enough evidence. The public wanted to see how the case would go but the court followed the law in the penal code,” said Justice Matheka in her ruling.
She found the suspects have no case to answer and ruled that there was no sufficient evidence to put them on defence.
She blamed the officers at Directorate of Criminal Investigations for doing shoddy job in the matter and failing to pin the suspected killers of their colleague.
The two had been accused of murdering Robert Kariuki, a police officer who was attached to Kiganjo Police Station, on August 12, 2012 at Gichira village Nyeri.
Members of the public found the deceased’s body by the road side, after he had gone missing for three days. The officer was hit with a blunt object on the head, the court heard.
At the scene of crime, police officers followed some blood stains which led them to Mr Karani’s pit latrine where personal belongings of the deceased like sandals, belt and handkerchief were recovered.
The items were positively identified by the deceased’s father.
But Justice Matheka noted that the father had not seen the officer for about three days and in his evidence he never said if he was called to identify the items by police.
“No enough evidence to show adequately the items recovered belonged to the deceased. Police prepared an inventory of the items found in the toilet but it was not produced in court,” said the judge.
She stated that it was upon the prosecution to show the court where the deceased was before his body was recovered at the road side.
“There was no investigation to show the whereabouts of the deceased, investigators would have shown where he was and why he was killed,” said the judge.
Prosecution said police officers found chang’aa in the houses of the accused persons, but there was no information on whether the officers conducted a further search in the houses. There was also no information on recovery of a murder weapon, the judge stated.
“The court was told the suspects had blood stains on their clothes, but there was no evidence by a government analyst on whether the blood was for the deceased. There was no report by the government analyst,” Justice Matheka noted.
She added that the prosecution failed to prove the accused persons had a malice and ill-motive towards the deceased.
Witnesses only told the court that the deceased had money and there was bad blood relationship between his family and that of one of the accused persons.
“Suspecting is not enough. It is the evidence that matters. If the prosecution wants to rely on circumstantial evidence, it must be collaborating,” ruled Justice Matheka.