Seven gang rape suspects arraigned in Bomet

Gang rape

The seven gang rape suspects arraigned before a Bomet court.

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai| Nation Media GROUP

Police have been allowed to hold the seven Bomet gang rape suspects for 14 days before they take a plea in court.

Ms Mbethi Michuki gave the directives following an application filed by state counsel Erick Waweru when the suspects were arraigned before the court on Friday.

The suspects -Anderson Kipkoech Sigei, Carlos Kipkorir Sigei, Erican Kipkoech Korir, Enock Cheruiyot Koech, Enock Korir Kiprono, Wesley Kipkurgat Sigei and Weldon Kibet Sigei - were not allowed to plead to the charges when they appeared before Ms Mbethi.

It was the suspects’ first public appearance since they were arrested in the case that has attracted a lot of public interest in the past two days.

Mr Waweru applied for the police to hold the suspects for 21 days, but the magistrate allowed only 14 days for the investigations to be conducted by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the accused persons be formally charged in court.

The prosecutor told the court that the detention window would allow the police to conduct forensic investigations, age and mental assessment, and tracing of the victims and others seen in the indicated video clip.

Mr Gideon Koech, the defence counsel had applied for the release of the suspects on bond saying there was no complainant, no charge facing them and the video clip had not been tendered as evidence in the case adding that their (suspects) arraignment was premature.

She stated that the prosecution had not proved that the accused persons were a flight risk or their lives were in any way at risk, noting that the respondents were traced, taken into custody and presented to Olbutyo police station by the chief and nyumbakumi elders.

“It would be a disservice for this court to overlook the context indicating the alleged crime the respondents were arrested over and the public interest and outcry the same it has elicited as submitted by the prosecution,” Ms Michuki stated.

In the undated video clip that emerged on Wednesday, the suspects are seen gang raping a woman at an undisclosed location in what has caused public outrage.

“The republic is the complainant in the case and the position by the defense counsel that there is no complaint is misplaced. The people before the court are suspects and are yet to be charged…As much as bail and bond is a constitutional right, it may be limited..” Ms Michki stated.

She said “It is in the interest of justice and public good that the respondents are denied bond and bail and they be detained at Chebunyo police station (in Chepalungu constituency ) for 14 days”

Police are tracking a suspect who released the video and went underground after evading a security dragnet over another crime.

Bomet County Police Commander Robinson Ndiwa said on Thursday that the video was filmed in December but released to the public recently.