A policeman sentenced to 20 years in the death of a fisherman.
A police officer was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for a 2014 murder of a fisherman in Naivasha.
Police Constable Evans Maliecha Wiyema was found guilty and convicted early this year for the murder of Moses Kinyanjui Wanyoike. Wiyema, a former Anti-Stock Theft Unit officer shot and killed Wanyoike on July 27, 2014.
While sentencing him, Justice Richard Mwongo however said Wiyema may serve a lesser term of 10 years if he undergoes rehabilitation and counselling while in jail.
The judge said the ex-policeman should not be involved in any criminal activity for the next 5 years and a review of his conduct be done by a probation officer after every five years.
The officer’s trial, at the Naivasha High Court, saw a strong case put forward by the prosecution. Sixteen (16) prosecution witnesses testified before Justice Mwongo Judge Mwongo in his judgement reiterated that the prosecution had indeed proven beyond reasonable doubt that Maliecha, was the one who shot Wanyoike on July 27, 2014, at Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha.
Moreover, the Judge stated that the police officer acted recklessly, and he was not justified in shooting Wanyoike.
“Given all the foregoing circumstances and my findings, I find and hold that the accused acted with mens rea, recklessly and in violation of the law. His actions were made all the more unacceptable by the fact that he did not report the incident but instead chose to assist in prosecuting the fishermen. His actions do not add up and do not support the defense of self- defense. Ultimately, I find the accused guilty of murder and convict him for the same,” the judge ruled.
International Justice Mission (IJM) represented the victim’s family in the case. IJM Kenya Country Director Benson Shamala said the court’s decision is a big step in holding errant police officers to account.
“Wanyoike is just one of many young men killed in unclear circumstances that show excessive use of force by police officers. We continue demanding accountability for any errant police officer who violates the law. Additionally, we call for resourcing of IPOA and the Internal Affairs Unit to fast track cases under investigation. It’s worth noting that Wanyoike’s family had to wait for over five years to get justice,” said Shamala.
On the day Wanyoike was killed, he and two other fishermen – Johnson Ndichu and Douglas Tutu were fishing at Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha when the officer shot him in the head at close range.
A day before the killing, a sheep belonging to Crescent Island was reported missing. Maliecha and a colleague allegedly had gone to pursue suspects when they sighted the three fishermen and shot at them, instantly killing Wanyoike.
Following the incident, and in a bid to conceal the truth, the officer charged Johnson and Douglas with theft of a sheep worth Sh10,000. After learning of their plight and the injustice meted on the two, IJM took on Douglas and Johnson’s case to help bring the correct facts before the court.
A magistrate who analysed the theft of sheep case and acquitted Johnson and Douglas later observed that the evidence was insufficient to prove that they had stolen any sheep. Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) investigated the killing and forwarded the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who charged the officer with Wanyoike’s murder. IJM commends the work of IPOA and ODPP during the five years it has taken to complete the case.