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Woman accused of killing JKIA engineer freed on Sh1m bond

Monday July 13 2020
Shighi pix

Vigilance Shighi, who is accused of killing her boyfriend, JKIA aeronautical engineer Edward Okello, in Umoja, Nairobi, on May 9, 2020. PHOTO | JOSEPH NDUNDA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOSEPH WANGUI

A woman accused of murdering her boyfriend in Umoja, Nairobi, has been released on Sh1 million bond with two sureties of the same amount.

Ms Vigilance Shighi, 29, is accused of killing Edward Budoyi Okello, an aeronautical engineer at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), at Amani Court in Umoja II Estate on May 9.

Police reports indicate that she stabbed the 33-year-old man in the chest and abdomen several times using a knife after a domestic squabble.

Mr Okello died at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital in Kayole where he was taken after the incident.

In court on Monday, Ms Shighi, who has denied the charge, was given the alternative of Sh500,000 cash bail.

BAIL REQUEST

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The prosecution opposed Ms Shighi’s application for bail, saying investigating officer Veronica Waithera was apprehensive that, being jobless, she would likely abscond.

"Being a resident of a border county (Kenya-Tanzania), she is likely to flee to the neighbouring country to avoid trial and being called to account for what she is being charged of,” said Ms Waithera.

She added, “The deceased was killed in a horrific manner. It would only be just and fair for the accused to be denied bail pending trial.”

The officer added that the accused would likely interfere with witnesses.

THE RULING

But Milimani Judge Luka Kimaru said there were no compelling reasons to deny Ms Shighi bail as police failed to give evidence to prove she was a flight risk.

"The circumstance under which the crime is said to have occurred, in the absence of other evidence, cannot form a basis for this court to deny the accused the constitutionally guaranteed right to be released on bail pending trial,” Mr Kimaru said.

He added that the accused cannot be discriminated against by virtue of the location of her home country.

Justice Kimaru also said the prosecution’s fears can be addressed by the court’s imposition of conditions that will ensure her presence during the trial.

"The courts are under a constitutional imperative to lean towards granting the accused persons bail, pending trial, unless it is established, to the satisfaction of the court, that the trial would be frustrated by the accused's prior conduct or failure to attend court during trial,” he explained.

He directed the accused to provide the names of two close relatives who ensure she goes to court for the trial.

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