The High Court has dismissed a bail application by four Administration Police officers accused of killing human rights lawyer Willie Kimani and two others in Machakos County four years ago.
Justice Jessie Lessit declined the application on the grounds that the accused have delayed the trial through numerous applications and adjournments.
“It should have been concluded by 2018 latest, but something changed in 2018. New tactics by the defence set in and were, without a doubt, geared towards delaying the case,” the judge said Friday.
She noted that when she took over in 2017, only four witnesses were heard. There were two witnesses in 2018 and then the trial halted due to applications by the defence, she said, adding that she questioned what will happen if a release order is granted considering the conduct of the defence so far.
“I find here have been new developments which have created new compelling reasons which never existed when the bail was applied for,” the judge said.
Among the applications was one filed by defence lawyer Kelvin Michuki, seeking to expunge a DNA profile report filed by the prosecution.
The report compiled by the Government Chemist was in respect to Mr Peter Ngugi, a police informer.
Laboratory analyses of four cigarette butts, which police collected at the scene of the murder in Machakos, placed Mr Ngugi there.
Judge Lesiit declined the request to expunge the report saying the exercise was properly done, meaning it will form part of the prosecution’s evidence.
She also noted that various parties in the case want the trial concluded faster and without any further delay yet the defence is delaying it.
“There have been heightened efforts to delay the case by the defence. The delay is a reason to deny them bail and is a compelling reason,” said the judge.
Mr Ngugi did not apply for release.
Justice Lessit also explained that due to the delay tactics applied by the defence, granting the bail application will be interpreted by all to mean that she is tolerating indolence.
“Nothing will give me greater joy than giving bond to the accused, including one who has never applied for it, but not at this stage as it will be interpreted by all to mean that I am rewarding indolence. Bond can be still negotiated but only when I put the final full stop at close of final submissions,” said the judge.
She noted that it behooves each party in the case to play its role professionally, honestly, efficiently and with utmost good faith for expeditious disposal of the matter.
“It is the duty of every party to ensure the case is heard and concluded with efficiency, effectiveness and expedition,” said the judge.
In the bail application, the four officers – Senior Sergeant Fredrick Leliman, Sergeant Leonard Mwangi, Constable Silvia Wanjiku and Corporal Stephen Chebulet had told the court that they are not flight risks.
They added that they will comply with any terms imposed and also noted they are at risk of getting Covid-19 while in prison. One of them is already under treatment.
The judge said the health issues can be managed by prison authorities as has been done before.