Court release businessman linked to son's murder on Sh1 million bond

The High Court has directed a Nyeri-based businessman accused of murdering his son to be released on a Sh1 million bond with one surety of a similar amount.

Stephen Wang’ondu co-accused James Mahinda Mwangi, Eddy Kariuki Ngari, Raphael Wachira Kariuki and Geoffrey Warutumo Waturi were also released on the same bond terms.

In her ruling, Justice Florence Muchemi said the prosecution had not advanced compelling reasons as to why the five suspects should not be released on bond.

The five have denied murdering Daniel Mwangi Wang’ondu, whose body was found in a pool of blood at his father's gate in Wendiga village on January 1. Mwangi was 32.

Wang’ondu, 74, is accused of hiring hitmen to eliminate his son to benefit from his insurance cover.

Immediately after the ruling, the prosecution led by Duncan Ondimu successfully applied for a stay order stating he intended to appeal the ruling.

Justice Muchemi granted the prosecution a three-day stay order.

In the ruling for a bond, the judge spelled out tough conditions among them that the accused deposit their passports and to seek permission while leaving the jurisdiction of the court.

She further warned the court would not hesitate to cancel the bond if the accused directly or indirectly interfere with witnesses.  

She also directed the matter be mentioned after every 30 days pending the hearing and determination of the case

In releasing the accused on bond, the court said it had the duty to balance between the rights of the accused and the State, noting the suspects are presumed innocent unless proved guilty.

“These rights must be guarded until the case is heard and determined,” she added.

She also dismissed arguments advanced by the prosecution that the suspects were under threat from the public if released.

“The State has the machinery to protect its citizens and people should not be allowed to take the law into their hands,” the judge added.

The case will be mentioned on May 10.