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Murder suspect Warunge quarantined for treatment

A university student incarcerated at the Nairobi remand home on suspicion of murdering 5 members of his family in January this year is still undergoing medication.

Lawrence Warunge who is yet to take plea is confined at the remand home, where he has been undergoing treatment after the Kiambu court ordered that he undergoes treatment before the case can proceed.

When the case was mentioned Monday before Kiambu Chief Magistrate Ms. Patriciah Gichohi, the investigating officer told the court that the suspect had been quarantined at the remand and he could therefore not appear before court physically.

Following his absence, the proceedings were virtual and the court was told that he was progressing well on his medication.

According to a letter from Mathari Referral Hospital dated 8th March 2021, the suspect’s treatment progress was well on course although he still remained on medication.

The letter further added that despite the second review of the suspect that was on 12th March 2021, he was still not fit to take plea, leading to adjournment of the case.

The office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) led by Senior Prosecution counsel Ms. Christine Mbevi advised the court to set the matter after 12th April 2021 to allow for further review of the suspect.

The court had obliged to the government’s request to have the two suspects undergo a mental assessment which is mandatory for any suspect facing murder trial.

Accused persons charged with murder cannot be convicted of a crime if they are not mentally competent to stand trial. This would violate constitutional protections for defendants by denying them the right to a fair trial.

An earlier mental assessment conducted on the suspect on January 26 revealed that Waruinge suffered from induced psychosis, a severe mental illness.

Following examination conducted at Mathari Mental Hospital, the suspect has a history of drinking spirits, smoking marijuana which resulted into paranoid delusions.

Following submissions made by the prosecution, the court set the mention on the matter on April 14,2021.

By Velma Mukhwana

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