Court frees man accused of killing infant in fight over name with wife

The man was accused of killing an unnamed child. [iStockphoto]

A man accused of killing a newborn in an alleged naming fight with his wife five years ago has been set free.

Justice Teresiah Matheka said the key witness, who was the mother of the child, did not testify and the other witnesses relied on what they had heard about the incident.

According to her, the man had raised substantial questions that dented the prosecution's case.

She noted that although the child had died, it could not have been in the hands of his father.

"It is truly unfortunate that this young child lost his life in the alleged fight for parental supremacy over the child's right to a name and nationality," the judge said in her ruling.

"Parents' supremacy rights can have fatal results as in this case."

She added: "The constitutional edict to each citizen and the state that the best interest of the child be the primary consideration in matters that affect a child ought to be the guiding light for each parent and guardian. Then such fatalities would be unheard of."

What's in a name?

Justice Matheka said that a name is everything, including life.

"The people who give life want to name that which they give life to so that it can carry on their name, their culture, their history, their identity. In this case, it took away everything from this child," she said.

On January 14, 2017, the man codenamed IMW was charged with murder. He was accused of killing an unnamed child. The minor was just six weeks old.

The first witness to be called by the State was a government pathologist, Dr Titus Ngulungu. He said the child had curd-like material in the trachea and the stomach. The same had obstructed the tubes that carry air to the lungs.

According to Ngulungu, the cause of death was caused by a head injury.

The witness testified that there had been violent shaking of the brain, leading to breathing in fluids. There was also a bruise on the cheek. The second witness was Thuo Njuguna, a Nyumba Kumi representative from the parent's village.

On the fateful day, he said, he was woken up by the child's mother who told him her husband had hit the child while they were having an argument about the name of the child. According to Njuguna, she narrated that the dispute arose from the fact that she was from Kisii while the man was Kikuyu.