Six police officers charged with the murder of two brothers in Kianjokoma village in Embu County have been released after spending three months in custody.
Justice Daniel Ogembo ruled that there are no compelling reasons to warrant their continued detention and released them on a cash bail of Sh300,000 each with a condition that they stay away from the scene of the crime.
“Although the prosecution argued that they have a strong case against the accused to secure their conviction, no evidence has been placed before the court to make a finding that would result in denying them bail,” ruled Ogembo.
According to the judge, the purpose of bail is to secure the accused persons' attendance during the trial and not to punish them. He also said it is still too early to determine whether the prosecution has a strong case.
On claims the officers, Benson Mputhia, Consolata Njeri, Martin Wanyama, Nicholas Sang, Lillian Cherono, and James Mwaniki will interfere with witnesses, the judge ruled that there was no evidence that they have attempted to contact the witnesses.
“In any case, the officers have been interdicted and do not have the benefit of police officers while some have been transferred to other stations which means they will not be within the jurisdiction where the offence occurred to enable them to interfere with witnesses,” ruled Ogembo.
He ordered the accused never to visit or live within Kianjokoma or Embu County during the pendency of the case, not to contact the witnesses, and to furnish the court with details of where they will be staying upon their release from custody.
The officers were charged with two counts of murder in which the prosecution alleged they killed 22-year-old Benson Njiru Ndwiga and his 19-year-old brother Emmanuel Mutura Ndwiga on the night of August 1 at Kianjokoma village in Embu North sub-county.
The prosecution’s case is that the officers jointly murdered the two brothers at Kianjokoma Trading Centre when they were heading home with their friends on the night of August 1.
According to an investigation report filed in court, the brothers were returning home at 10.30 pm when one of them spotted a police vehicle parked around a corner and a police officer armed with a long stick on patrol, approaching the direction where they were.
He alerted the others and they started running back in the direction they were coming from when one of them tripped and fell.
The officers on patrol caught up with them, arrested and bundled them in the police vehicle. No one knew what happened to the brothers while they were in the police vehicle as their bodies were found lying in a straight line 35 meters apart.
A post-mortem report concluded that the two were killed using a blunt object with multiple injuries on their heads.
But the officers have denied murdering the brothers, claiming it is the two who caused their death by jumping from a moving police vehicle after the arrest and fell on the road leading to their death.