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Ex-policeman convicted over murder of Briton Alexander Monson appeals sentence

By Joackim Bwana | Jan 15th 2022 | 3 min read

Alexander Monson. [Courtesy]

A former police officer jailed for 12 years for the murder of Alexander Monson, the son of British aristocrat Nicholas Monson, has challenged his sentence at the Court of Appeal.

Charles Munyiri claims that the trial court convicted him on the basis of "fanciful theories and hypothesis not supported by cogent evidence."

The convict filed an appeal in Mombasa on January 12. He said the evidence used to convict him had glaring gaps, contradictions, and inconsistencies.

In his 27 grounds of appeal, Munyiri said the High Court relied on the prosecution evidence which did not prove the commission of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Munyiri was, on November 15, 2021, jailed alongside his colleagues Naftali Chege, Baraka Bulima, and John Pamba for the murder of Monson, who was killed in May 2015 in Diani, Kwale County.

“The trial court failed to find that there was no circumstantial evidence or any chain of circumstances incompatible with the innocence of the appellant," his lawyer Daniel Wamotsa said.

He said the High Court failed to call crucial witnesses such as the bouncer who called the police to the scene of the arrest of the deceased and the doctor who diagnosed Monson with drug overdose.

The convict said officers from the DCI headquarters in Nairobi who conducted the initial investigations and exonerated Munyiri from blame were not called by the prosecution to testify.

"Had the three witnesses been called to testify, their evidence would have been adverse to the prosecution case," said Wamotsa.

Meanwhile, the convict also took issue with the trial court's failure to analyze or properly evaluate the evidence, which was solely circumstantial, thereby wrongfully convicting him.

Lord Nicholas Monson, whose son Alexander was killed in police custody in Diani, at Mombasa High Court, ahead of the determination of the case. November 2021. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

“The learned trial judge erred in fact and in law by convicting the appellant on the basis of fanciful theories and hypothesis not supported by cogent evidence," said Wamotsa.

Wamotsa said the trial court also failed to take into account a report or evidence of drug abuse or drug overdose which were favourable to the defendants.

The lawyer said the judge heavily relied on the medical doctor (PW25) who admitted that he never saw the deceased alive or dead and never treated him.

"PW25 opinion contradicted opinions of the treating doctor, toxicology doctor, and pathologists without even interviewing them. PW25 admitted that he may have relied on incomplete medical records of the deceased," said Wamotsa.

The appellant said the prosecution failed to present a pharmacologist to testify and rule out evidence of drug overdose as the possible cause of Monson's fall and fatal injury.

"Instead the court erroneously and contrary to law shifted the prosecution's burden of proof to the appellant to prove that the deceased died of drug overdose or sustained the injuries as a result of drug overdose which led to his loss of consciousness,” said Wamotsa.

He said the judge ruled that the injury was inflicted on the deceased between 0830 hours and 0500 hours against the weight of medical expert witnesses who were unable to ascertain the age of the fatal injury on the deceased and ruled that the injury could have occurred before the arrest, during arrest, when being taken to the police station, at the police station, when being taken to the hospital or at the hospital.

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