Linturi walks free after prosecution fails to prefer charges against him

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi addressed the press after the court session. [Joseph Kipsang, Standard]

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi walks free this morning after the prosecution failed to prefer charges against him.

Moreover, Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti dismissed the miscellaneous application by detectives who had sought to investigate the Senator for incitement.

The Nakuru Law Court has dismissed another incitement case against a sitting Member of Parliament.

Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti stopped the investigation into allegations of incitement against Meru Senator Mithika Linturi and allowed the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (ODPP) to close proceedings against the senator.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) had requested more time to investigate Mr Linturi over incitement. 

But when the case came up for the ruling on the application by DCE, state prosecutor Maureen Wambui told the court of the intention of the ODPP to close the case against Linturi and his Sh2million bail refunded.

“The miscellaneous file is marked as withdrawn as the prosecution has failed to prefer any charges against the suspect within the time allocated by the court,” ruled Nyaloti.

She noted that she had given the prosecution the last adjournment on January 26 2022 and allowed them 15 days to conclude investigations.

Ms Wambui informed the court that the DCI failed to cover areas instructed in their investigations within the court’s allocated time and there was no reason to continue holding Linturi hostage.

The detectives were to compile cyber-forensic analysis and record statements from potential witnesses.

She, however, said that if charges are preferred against Linturi, he will take plea. 

“In the meantime, the file can be closed as we have no charges preferred against the suspect, as we await the investigating officer to cover the remaining areas of investigations,” said Wambui.

Linturi’s lawyer Elias Mutuma said the prosecution’s move confirmed their fears that the case was a political move by the government to intimidate Linturi.

“It was a move to silence my client and intimidate him to change his political stand. It is not fair for the senator, me and the court to be dragged for over a month wasting time on a case that never was,” said Mutuma.

He faulted the DCI for not making up their mind before they arrest individuals, parade and detain them without preferred charges.

“The DCI must be warned that they have a duty to do their work of protecting the law,” said Mutuma.

Speaking to The Standard after the ruling, Mutuma said they are intending to file a case at the Nakuru High Court to seek damages.

He said he wants the High Court to declare that Linturi’s rights were violated during his arrest, detention and his presentation to the court.

“We will not stop here and we are not afraid. They shamed Linturi when they illegally arrested him. We will fight for damages,” he said.

Linturi who spoke to The Standard warned the DCI not to be used in political rows to unlawfully intimidate members.

He condemned the manner in which he was arrested and brought to court and the delay in investigations.

“The resources used to arrest me should have been put to better use by the state,” he said.

The senator was alleged to have made incitement remarks at a rally attended by Deputy President William Ruto on January 8.

His utterances allegedly incited the public to violence during the rally in Eldoret. He was arrested on January 9.

Linturi’s case has been withdrawn just 17 days after Kapsaret MP Oscar Sudi was acquitted of hate speech and offensive conduct charges.

In the case, Sudi was accused of insulting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s mother and using threatening words, in a video shared on social media, which were likely to stir up ethnic hatred.

In his ruling on February 11, Principal Magistrate Isaac Orenge said the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Sudi committed the offence.