4 policemen, trader freed in probe into Kakamega reveler's death
The High Court in Kakamega has thrown out the findings of a court inquest that recommended that four police officers and a trader be charged with the murder of 40-year-old Raymond Lubanga.
Judge William Musyoka ruled that the five - Senior Sergeant Michael Cherugut, Duncan Wafula, Francis Kayemit, Musa Juma, and businessman Dennis Rosana - did not have a case to answer, citing lack of evidence
The four police officers, based at the Kakamega Central police station, and the bar owner were arrested in connection with the death of the reveler in Kakamega town on December 16, 2019.
Mr Rosana is the owner of Balozi Bar in Kakamega town from where Raymond was arrested by the police before his body was discovered at the Kakamega County General Hospital mortuary the next day.
Raymond was reportedly arrested at the bar by the four police officers after they were called by the bar owner, who accsued him of causing a disturbance. Police officers at the club allegedly ordered Raymond out for being drunk and causing a disturbance.
A confrontation ensued and an officer called for reinforcement, which led to Raymond being taken away in a police vehicle.
The officers are said to have thrown him out of the vehicle but passers-by raised the alarm, forcing them to pick up the unconscious man and drive off.
The officers claimed the suspect overpowered them and jumped out, sustaining serious head injuries, and that they later booked him at the Kakamega General Hospital as an identified person.
An autopsy by Kakamega General Hospital pathologist, Dr Dickson Mchana, revealed the head injuries were secondary to blunt force trauma following a fall from a height.
A lower court had found the five culpable of murder and committed them to Kakamega police station as they waited to take plea.
Lubanga's relatives queried the cause of his death so police opened an inquiry file, which the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) placed before a court for a public inquest.
Principal Magistrate Eric Malesi ruled that the five were culpable for murder but the accused appealed against the decision.
On Friday, Judge Musyoka dismissed the lower court's decision and set the suspects free.
“The lower court rushed in reaching the decision. The surety and security deposited with the court should be returned to the accused as they are now free,” ruled Mr Musyoka.
The ruling came as a big blow to the family of the deceased that had hoped to find justice for him.
“We are so disappointed because the autopsy report was very clear that my brother was tortured to death. The inquiry was very okay but it has been taken [round in] circles to reach this end,” said David Lubanga, Raymond's brother.
He said the family will file an application for a new inquest to ensure justice is served.
“We strongly believe the police officers have a case to answer,” he said.