Murder for profit: Family lawyer wants witness protection for family of victim

Evans Kasyoki when he appeared before Machakos High Court yesterday. The court will rule on his application for bail Monday next week. [Photo:Erastus Mulwa, Standard]

A lawyer wants the family of Eric Makau, who was allegedly murdered four years ago in Kangundo, Machakos County, granted witness protection should the court release the accused on bail.

Evans Kasyoki, a former insurance firm employee, has been charged with the murder of Mr Makau, who was his nephew.

High Court judge George Odunga was scheduled to make a ruling on Mr Kasyoki’s bail application.

His lawyer, Victor Kariuki, had argued that the grounds advanced by the State that his client was a flight risk and could jump bail were insufficient to warrant a denial of bond.

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“There is no evidence at all that the accused person has tried to escape since the alleged date of commission of the offence four years ago. Furthermore, the applicant has been co-operating with the police and has been made aware of the consequences of failure to appear,” Mr Kariuki told the judge.

Compelling reasons

The lawyer said the prosecution had not tendered compelling reasons why the accused should be denied bail.

“The court should also consider that the accused person has been in custody since August 15 and should therefore be released on fair terms pending trial,” he said.

But lawyer Christine Momanyi, representing Makau’s family, urged the court to consider giving orders for witness protection in favour of the concerned family members, saying they were vulnerable to intimidation and possible attacks.

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“The victim’s family has been living in fear and this could be aggravated further if the accused is allowed to roam free. In view of this, the court should consider giving orders for witness protection should it find it in order to release the accused person,” Ms Momanyi said.

She added that the victim came from a humble family unlike the accused, who could tamper with evidence if freed on bond.

Her sentiments were backed by the State prosecutor, who asked the court to throw out the accused person’s application for bail because there were high chances he would abscond.

Capital offences

“The prosecution is alive to the fact that capital offences are bailable but there is real fear by the public and the family of the victim that the accused person may abscond and for that reason we pray that the bail application be denied,” the State argued.

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The prosecution further asked the court to ensure that any bail allowed should be substantial.

“It is evident the matter has attracted public interest and that there is need to ensure justice is not only attained but also seen to be attained,” the prosecution said.

Issue orders

The judge said he would issue orders about witness protection on Monday, after the family’s lawyer explained to her clients what the process entailed.

“Before this court can make such an order, and in the interest of justice, I will defer this order to Monday when I will give either the ruling on how you will have agreed to do or a date for ruling for the bail application,” said Mr Odunga.

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Kasyoki is accused of murdering his nephew in 2014 in order to claim insurance benefits amounting to Sh9 million from two different firms with which he had allegedly taken life policies for Makau

Eric MakauMachakos CountyHigh Court judge George OdungaMurder for profitWitness ProtectionKasyokiState prosecutor