The High Court on Tuesday slapped punitive bond terms to a murder suspect accused of killing his nephew four years ago in order to claim insurance benefits.
Justice George Odunga sitting in Machakos ordered the release of Evans Kasyoki on cash bail of Sh3 million and two sureties of similar amount pending hearing and determination of his murder trial.
Kasyoki is accused of killing his nephew, Eric Makau in March 2014 after allegedly enrolling the deceased to a life policy amounting to Sh9 million in two different firms.
The accused was re-arrested last month on orders of the director of public prosecutions (DPP) following a media expose which linked him to the murder of his nephew. He had been on detention at the Machakos GK prison.
Among other terms for the granting the bond were that the accused should not threaten, harm or interfere with the case or witnesses and shall attend court whenever required to do so.
"I also order that the accused shall be appearing for the mention of this case once every month and that the sureties of the cash bond be approved by the deputy registrar of this court," said Justice Odunga.
In granting the bond, Justice Odunga observed that the objections to the application by the prosecution did not suffice the constitutional threshold for denying the accused person bond. The prosecution had strongly submitted that the accused if released may be a flight risk.
"It is therefore upon the prosecution to prove that the temptation for the accused person to flee is so high that it amounts to compelling reasons. Those circumstances cannot be based on mere fear or speculation," he said.
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The judge however said the terms and conditions of the bond were subject to review depending on whether there are changes in the circumstances which warrant such review.
"I am therefore not satisfied with the material placed before me that the accused person is a flight risk. While I appreciate that there is always a risk that any accused person may abscond in any matter, the constitution has however taken the calculated risk of the right of accused to be admitted to bond, save where there are compelling reasons," the judge said.
At the same time, Odunga ruled that there was no sufficient proof by the prosecution that the accused person was likely to interfere with witnesses if released on bond. "In this case there has not been such evidence that there has been any attempt in the four years that the accused person has been under investigation," he said.
Odunga also ruled that the mere fact that the accused had received wide publicity in the media did not amount to compelling reasons to justify the denial of bail. He also noted that the earlier application by the family of the victim for witness protection had been withdrawn.
The accused person was ordered to appear in court on October 29th when his trial will commence.?
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