Sentencing of Willie Kimani killers postponed to February 3, 2023
The much-anticipated sentencing of three ex-police officers and a police informer convicted for the murder of lawyer Willie Kimani and two other men has been postponed to February 3, 2023.
The sentencing was expected on Friday, December 16, but Justice Jessie Lessit pushed it to the new date.
On July 22, 2022, Justice Jessie Lessit said the evidence against former officers Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku, and police informer Peter Ngugi was overwhelming.
During the trial, one of the longest criminal trials in Kenya, it emerged that the officers contemplated for three hours whether to kill the victims, which indicated a malicious motive.
The triple murder exposed the hallmark of police brutality in the country, triggering widespread outrage and street protests.
Human rights groups, including International Justice Mission (IJM), where Kimani worked, toiled behind the scenes to hold the murderers accountable.
There were a series of advocacies, some by Missing Voices, to expose the gruesome face of police violence in Kenya, a country where brutal cops are rarely punished.
On July 18 and August 23, 2016, the three police officers and a civilian were respectively charged with murder. A fourth police officer who was also charged was acquitted.
The trial commenced on November 10, 2016. The prosecution closed its case in September 2021, with the court ruling the case was triable. The defense case ended three months later.
After dozens of adjournments, the court finally delivered the judgment on July 22, 2022.
After the court’s verdict, Kimani’s wife said, “getting justice today offers a source of comfort to our hearts”.
The sentencing of the four convicts is expected by many Kenyans to offer a glimmer of hope that police impunity is punishable, and there are no sacred cows.