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Ivy Wangeci's murder trial postponed for the fifth time

RIFT VALLEY
By Lynn Kolongei | May 28th 2021
Moi University medical student Ivy Wangeci. [Courtesy]

For the fifth time in a row, the trial of man accused of killing Moi University medical student Ivy Wangeci in 2019 failed to proceed at the Eldoret High Court on Friday.

This was after Naftali Njami Kinuthia's newly appointed advocate Henry Kenei withdrew from the case at the last minute to the disappointment of the victim’s family.

Kinuthia’s initial lawyer Mbiu Kamau stepped down in November 2020 forcing the office of the Chief Justice and the Pro Bono Service Committee to appoint Mr Kenei to represent him.

During the virtual court session, Justice Stephen Githinji informed the court that Kenei had written a letter addressed to the court, recusing himself from representing Kinuthia.

“A letter has been brought to the court's attention of the Deputy Registrar by the counsel representing the accused person, requesting that he should be allowed to withdraw from representing the accused person on the account that the accused has not been listening to him and has been making unreasonable demands that cannot be met professionally,” said Justice Githinji.

Since the case cannot proceed without the accused being represented by a lawyer, the judge ruled that another pro bono lawyer be appointed to represent Kinuthia.

Kiroko Ndegwa, the victim's family lawyer, however, told the court that the case was taking too long to get to the hearing.

“Your honour, we have been prepared to get to the trial of the case and the case has been postponed on several occasions. We even came with the witnesses who were ready to testify before court,” said Mr Ndegwa.

Ivy Wangeci's father (centre) after he arrived at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital to view her body. [Courtesy]

Wangeci’s family, who attended the scheduled hearing on Thursday, expressed their fear that the postponement of the case might cause delay in justice or no justice at all.

The distraught family has termed delay tactics by the accused as deliberate.

Winfred Waithera King’ori, Wangeci’s mother, expressed her frustration at the turn of events.

“Since 2019, I have always wished I was born in another country where there is justice. What I have learned through this process is that the accused people in the cells have got rights, but the victims have no rights and that is why nobody cares about the emotional or financial distress you go through,” King’ori said.

According to Kiroko Ndegwa, Wangeci’s family advocate, the blamed the defence for the delay.

“It is sad that as we speak today, the hearing of this matter has not begun, the main challenge we have and that has led to the delay is the defence side. The matter was to come up for hearing today for the fifth time, but unfortunately, the defence counsel decided to withdraw from representing the accused person, leading to further postponement,” Ndegwa said.

Kinuthia is accused of hacking to death the medical student using an axe on April 9, 2019, outside the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret town.

The case will be heard on June 9, 2021.  

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