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Bond cancelled, accused remanded in custody for interfering with witnesses

The  Kiambu High Court  on Friday cancelled a Sh.500, 000 bond for a 27 year old man on trial for murdering his father in Lari-sub-county in 2017 for interfering with witnesses.

In the same manner, his step-mother who was reluctant to testify against him has been remanded at the Lang’ata Women Prison until June 10, 2019 to give her time to decide if she would testify against him or not.

Justice Christine Meoli  said it was necessary that the accused remains in custody after four prosecution witnesses declined to testify against him saying they were not ready and could only testify next year after talking to the accused.

Samuel  Ndung’u Njoroge  has been charged that on August 10, 2017 at Kagwe trading centre of Lari Sub-County in Kiambu County  he murdered Peter Njoroge Karima contrary to section 203 as read with section 204 of the penal code.

He  pleaded not guilty and  was released by Justice  Joel Ngugi with clear instructions not to step foot in his home.

Njoroge  was  also warned against interfering with witnesses or absconding court proceedings.

Prior to the orders, the court had spent two days trying to talk to the witnesses and the accused and in one occasion, the  proceedings were conducted in camera to allow the parties to talk freely on the way forward.

After the orders, Njoroge who had walked into the courtroom a free man was handcuffed and remanded in custody so that he  stops interfering and intimidating witnesses some who are close members of the family.

When the matter was called and the accused walked into the dock, two women who claim to be mothers of the accused person  raised their hands and told the court that they were not ready to testify.

The proceedings were delayed for some hours to allow the court to check out on other cases but fixed the case for 10.30a.m.

Upon resuming proceedings as scheduled, the two women who spoke earlier and others stated that they were not willing to  testify against their “son”.

The court noted that the accused and the said women are related enquired whether the defence was considering plea bargain  for a lesser offence.

The Defence Counsel, Maxwell Njehu told the court that the family had visited his office with a request that they intended  to settle the matter at home.

“I told them I had no such authority.” He further requested the court to allow him speak with his client to see if they
could enter into a plea bargaining but preferred to continue with the hearing.

After consultations, Justice Meoli cautioned the witnesses that “this was not a matter for settling in a manner you seem to  prefer at home, and that as witnesses you are obligated to give evidence and that there are consequences for disobedience.

It  was  then that the prosecution counsel, Ms. Viola Muthoni told the court that she had learnt that the accused person  was  threatening the witnesses who wanted to give evidence in the matter, hence their conduct.

The  first  prosecution witness, Esther Njeri Njoroge told court that the accused was her step-son. “I have not healed so I will give evidence next year in April 2020. I am not ready to give evidence. I will have a lighter heart in the matter,” she told the court.

Asked if she recorded a statement with the police on 16th August 2017 following the death of the deceased she said yes she did “but I am not ready to give evidence today” she told the court.

She told the court that she talked in February 2018 and that the accused was yet to explain why he did what he did.

“Therefore I am still waiting and I know he will give me an answer. What he says will determine what I will tell the
court.”

While making her order, Justice Meoli said it was evident for two day running that there was interference by the accused with the witnesses.

“The  statement by the step-mother who is PW1 and her conduct and others leaves no doubt in the matter that she has wilfully  refused to testify and instead given flimsy excuses,” said the Judge.

The case will be mentioned on June 10 to be allocated new hearing dates.

By  Lydia  Shiroya

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