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Judge revokes magistrate’s orders releasing retired senior cop held for killing farmhand

By Joseph Ndunda January 17th, 2024 2 min read

The Kibera High Court set aside orders issued by a magistrate at the same court to release a senior retired police officer and his two sons who are accused of killing their farmhand in Riruta, Nairobi.

Justice Diana Mochache ordered Michael Mbugua and his sons Christopher Njau and Charles Mwangi to remain in custody.

Senior Principal Prosecution Counsel Joseph Mburugu had moved to high court on January 15 to seek revision of the orders issued on January 10 releasing the suspects.

Mburugu had challenged the magistrate’s decision to admit the suspects to bail and bond.

Justice Mochache said that there was an impropriety and irregularity of the findings of the court in admitting the three suspects to bail and bond.

She said the magistrate had no powers to review the orders of a court of equal or superior status.

The three are suspected of killing 42-year-old George Njui who was allegedly tortured inside Mbugua’s home before he died along Naivasha Road in Dagoretti.

Also read: Retired cop-turned-priest implicated in murder of employee

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers arrested them on January 4 at their home.

Their accomplice escaped.

And detective constable Denis Were of Dagoretti DCI offices on January 5 obtained orders from Senior Principal Magistrate Samson Temu, to detain them for 14 days while conducting investigations into Njui’s murder.

However, on January 8, the suspects’ lawyers filed an application before another magistrate at the same court seeking their release on bail and bond pending hearing of their application for revision of Mr Temu’s orders.

The magistrate released the suspects on a cash bail of Sh50, 000 and an alternative bond of Sh300, 000 with sureties of similar amount.

In the new orders, the magistrate had directed the suspects to report to Dagoretti DCI offices daily at 8am.

However, Justice Mochache noted that the decision of January, 10, 2024, was issued by a magistrate of concurrent jurisdiction with Mr Temu who had issued the custodial orders.

“A magistrate court has no jurisdiction to enquire into or review the propriety of the decisions of a fellow magistrate, who is of concurrent jurisdiction as himself,” stated Justice Mochache.

“In our system of courts, which is hierarchical in nature, magistrates of concurrent jurisdiction do not possess supervisory jurisdiction over each other.”

Justice Mochache reinstated Mr Temu’s orders that police were using to detain the suspects after defying those issued by his colleague.

Nairobi DCI commander Peter Nthiga termed the orders unlawful and directed his officers to defy them before seeking the intervention of the ODPP before Mburugu filed his application on Monday.