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Lawyer Willie Kimani killers back to court this week

By Nyaboga Kiage January 30th, 2023 2 min read

Three ex-police officers and a police informer accused of playing a role in the murder of Lawyer Willie Kimani and two other men are scheduled for sentencing on Friday, February 3, 2023.

The sentencing of the four, namely ex-police officers; Mr Fredrick Leliman, Mr Stephen Cheburet, Ms Sylvia Wanjiku and police informer Peter Ngugi has been postponed twice. Initially, it was set to happen on December 16, 2022.

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However, Justice Jessie Lessit, on July 22, 2022, ruled that the evidence provided in court against the four was overwhelming.

“I am satisfied that the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt that the accused were principal offenders and acted in one common intention to commit the offences as charged,” she said while finding the accused guilty of murder.

The bodies of the three men –  lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and driver Joseph Muiruri – were found stashed in gunny bags in Ol Donyo Sabuk, Machakos County, on July 1, 2016.

They had been dumped in River Athi and were found more than a week after the men were reported missing.

It is worth noting that the trial is one of the longest on matters of murder here in Kenya.

Human rights groups, including International Justice Mission (IJM), where Kimani worked, toiled behind the scenes to hold the murderers accountable.

Also read: Unresolved murders in 2020

On July 18, the four murder suspects were arraigned in court for the first time after they were linked to the murder of the lawyer.

They were again arraigned on August 23, 2016, and the trial commenced on November 10, 2016, with the prosecution closing its case on September 2021. The defence case ended three months later.

Lawyer Kimani was defending Mr Josephat Mwenda who had accused Leliman of shooting him for no apparent reason in 2015.

Justice Lessit, who concluded the case on February 11, 2022, said it was the longest in her career.

Some 72 prosecutions and defense witnesses were called. There were more than 7,200 pages of handwritten proceedings.

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