A high court Judge on Monday ordered prison authorities to probe circumstances under which an accused person in a high- profile murder trial was not presented in court.
Investigations ordered by Justice Jessie Lessit will extend to Langata Women’s Prison where Sylvia Wanjiku, an administration police officer is currently remanded as she is tried for the brutal killings of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani.
Willie, a lawyer from International Justice Mission (IJM) was murdered in cold blood on June 23, 2016, alongside his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.
The three men had earlier on that day attended a case at Mavoko Law Courts involving a policeman – Fredrick Leliman who is also an accused person, charged alongside Wanjiku and two other officers.
Willie, Josephat and Joseph are believed to have been kidnapped while leaving the court. Their bodies were retrieved a week later at Oldonyo Sabuk river in Machakos stashed in gunny bags.
Two other AP officers, Stephen Cheburet and Leonard Maina Mwangi are similarly facing trial. Also charged is Peter Ngugi, a police informer.
The hearing resumed on Monday after a long break, however, it was delayed for nearly three hours after prison officers failed to produce Wanjiku.
A murder trial cannot proceed in the absence of an accused person.
When the file was called, all the suspects were present apart from Wanjiku. Prison officers in charge of inmates in court said they had no knowledge of her whereabouts.
Upon being pressed further by the prosecutors, the officers claimed Wanjiku’s court papers indicated that she is required in court on February 18 and not 11th.
It took the intervention of Judge Lesiit to have her traced. The judge issued a production order requiring her to be forthwith taken to court.
When she was brought in, the officers found themselves in a spot after it was noted that Wanjiku’s orders showed that she was actually expected in court on 11th and not 18th as the prison officers had claimed.
“Your Honour, it was an oversight on our part and we promise that it will never happen again,” an officer explained.
However, the Judge was dissatisfied with reasons given and ordered for an inquiry. A report on the circumstances of Wanjiku’s non production to court will be presented to Justice Lessit on Friday.
Police officer retraces radio used during the murder
Meanwhile, Kennedy Mwadime, an officer based at the Integrated Communication Command Control Centre at Jogoo House explained the movement of a police radio, believed to have been with the key suspect on the night of the killings.
The gadget, as captured by GPS coordinates shows that at one point it was at the suspected killing site at about 11 pm the time Willie, Josephat and Joseph are suspected to have been tortured and murdered.
Mwadime showed court nine specific locations from a total of 157 frames.
The locations were from Mlolongo Police station, Syokimau Police Post, Mombasa Road, Eastern Bypass and Juja.
The signal was captured near Mlolongo police station, then at Syokimau police station three hours later.
Mwadime said the signal was then traced to a field in Soweto between 8.40 and 9 pm. Other past witnesses have told the court the trio may have been killed in that field.
Some minutes to midnight, the signal was on the Eastern Bypass and later Thika Road.
According to the prosecution, the three were abducted and held at the AP post for some hours before being taken to the field where they were tortured and killed, and their bodies ferried to Ol Donyo Sabuk.
Hearing continues today.