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Lawyer Willy Kimani murder trial enters crucial stage

Friday February 15 2019

Willy Kimani

Suspects in the murder of lawyer Willie Kimani, his taxi driver and client arraigned on February 14, 2019. The case continues. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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The trial of five suspects in the murder of lawyer Willy Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri enters a crucial stage this morning, with a police officer expected to read an alleged confession made by one of the suspects.

Chief Inspector Geoffrey Kinyua was to read the statement on Thursday, but defence lawyers said they had not been supplied with the 21-page confession report.

They said they needed time to peruse it and get instructions from the suspects.

Four Administration Police officers, Mr Fredrick Leliman, Mr Stephen Cheburet, Ms Sylvia Wanjiku and Mr Leonard Maina Mwangi and a police informer, Mr Peter Ngugi, have pleaded not guilty to the murder charges.

CONFESSION

Mr Kinyua told Justice Jessie Lesiit that Mr Ngugi approached him on August 9, 2016 at around 11am through a colleague he identified as Inspector Mwangi, wishing to record a confession.

He was a serious crimes investigator at that time, based at the DCI headquarters.

The officer said that the suspect recorded the statement in English and that he explained to him the entire process.

He said he recorded the statement because the suspect had connection with the murder of the three people or had information that would aid in investigations.

“I also explained to him that the confession will be used as evidence in court and he understood,” he said.

KIDNAPPING

Mr Kimani, Mr Mwenda and Mr Muiruri were kidnapped after leaving the Mavoko law courts on June 23, 2016.

They later disappeared, only for their bodies to be retrieved a week later, from the Athi River, near Donyo Sabuk Police Post. Their bodies had been stashed in gunny bags and thrown into the river.

Mr Kimani, an advocate with International Justice Mission, was representing Mr Mwenda in a complaint he had made against Mr Leliman at the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.

Mr Mwenda had claimed that he was shot in the arm by Mr Leliman; and to cover up the shooting, the said officer fabricated charges against him.

The charges against Mr Mwenda were possessing bhang, gambling and resisting arrest. He was also charged with flouting traffic rules.

Evidence presented in court shows that the three victims had fractured skulls and injuries on the chest, neck and face.

They were ultimately bludgeoned to death using a blunt object. Their hands also had wounds. The report said that their hands were tied during the ordeal.