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Police officers gamble with death sentence to fight for freedom

By Kamau Muthoni | February 21st 2018

Two police officers on Tuesday decided to gamble with their lives in a bid to regain their freedom.

Police constables Stephen Ariga and Kennedy Ominde were jailed by the High Court for three years after it found them guilty of shooting dead an unarmed motorist.

They have been in prison and have only eight months to complete the manslaughter sentence.

They have, however, opted to appeal the sentence despite warnings that in the event they lose the appeal, the sentence could be enhanced death.

Remaining months

When Court of Appeal judges Roslyn Nambuye, Agnes Murgor, and Mohamed Warsame sat yesterday, they asked the duo's lawyer, Victor Olewe, whether they would opt to withdraw the appeal and serve the remaining months.

The bench gave the two close to 30 minutes to reconsider their decision and when the court resumed, the two stuck to their guns that they would face their fate to prove their innocence.

“How long have the two been in prison?” asked Justice Warsame.

Mr Olewe replied that they had served two years and four months, and were set to be released in November.

"And why do you want to risk their lives?” the judge pressed.

“Out of the six police officers only the two were singled out. My clients believe they were wrongly convicted, be it on manslaughter or anything else,” replied Olewe.

Justice Nambuye also affirmed the caution and this time turned to the two, who were sitting on the right side of the bench listening to the conversation between the bench and the bar.

The affirmative

“Do the two understand English?” the judge asked and the lawyer answered in the affirmative.

She continued: “This court being the first appeal is entitled to re-evaluate the record and come to a conclusion which is the same, or different to your advantage or disadvantage, do you understand?”

They individually responded in the affirmative.

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