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APs in lawyer Willy Kimani killing case denied bail

Thursday December 8 2016

Police officers, from left, Leonard Mwangi Maina, Sylvia Wanjiku Wanjohi, Stephen Cheburet Morogo and Fredrick ole Leliman in court on December 8, 2016. They are accused of killing a lawyer, his client and a taxi driver. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Police officers, from left, Leonard Mwangi Maina, Sylvia Wanjiku Wanjohi, Stephen Cheburet Morogo and Fredrick ole Leliman in court on December 8, 2016. They are accused of killing a lawyer, his client and a taxi driver. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

RICHARD MUNGUTI
By RICHARD MUNGUTI
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The High Court has rejected a bail application by four Administration Police officers accused of killing human rights lawyer Willy Kimani, his client and a taxi driver.

The five will remain behind bars during Christmas and New Year holidays and until the court determines the case, which Justice Jessie Lessit said “is unique and the only one of its kind to be prosecuted in Kenya’s judicial history”.

Justice Lessit said on Thursday that the accused could intimidate and interfere with witnesses “in this case of immense and astronomical public interest”.
Constitutional right

She said victims were professionals, who were pursuing their call of duty when their lives were cut short.

“Willy Kimani was an advocate, while his client Josephat Mwenda was a brave boda boda. The third — Joseph Muiruri — was a taxi driver, who eked out a living by transporting clients,” the judge said.

“The accused are not civilians but officers who swore to protect the lives of people, and property and ensure peace prevails.”

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The judge said though Senior Sergeant Fredrick ole Leliman, Sgt Leonard Mwangi Maina, Constable Sylvia Wanjiku Wanjohi, Constable Stephen Morogo and police informer Peter Ngugi Kamau were presumed innocent until proved guilty, testimony by the Director of Public Prosecutions during the bail application “showed they abdicated duty and meted out brutality in executing the three”.

The prosecution said Kimani and Mwenda were waylaid as they left the Mavoko court, kidnapped, detained, executed and their badly mutilated bodies stashed into sacks and thrown into a river.

The five have denied killing the three on June 23, at Soweto in Mlolongo, Machakos County. Lawyer Cliff Ombeta had applied for their release on bond, saying it is their constitutional right.

The judge said the more than 60 witnesses would be living together with the accused.

“Which witnesses will volunteer to testify against the officers when they are aware of what happened?” the judge asked.

“Going to Mavoko to kidnap the three was aimed at defeating justice and by intimidating witnesses, they will achieve what they have purposed from the beginning to silence justice forever.”