Family of Nyeri man killed by police to wait longer for judgment

Corporal Chibungu Sanga

Police Constable Chibungu Sanga at the High Court in Nyeri on July 17, 2019, during the hearing of a murder case against him. 

Photo credit: Joseph Wangui | Nation Media Group

A family whose kin was killed by a police officer seven years ago will have to wait for four months to attain justice for the death.

This was after the High Court in Nyeri postponed the judgement in the matter in which ex-Police Constable Chibungu Sanga is accused of killing 33 year-old Gregory Kanyi on the night of March 8, 2015.

The officer, formerly attached to Mukurweini Sub-county is said to have committed the offence while effecting the arrest of the deceased at his home

Reports produced before the court by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa), which investigated the matter show that on the fateful day, officer Sanga arrived at the deceased’s home around midnight in the company of three other officers.

The deceased- a stonemason, was said to have been involved in a physical fight with another officer- Constable Huja Macharia a fortnight before, while at a local bar in Mukurweini town. Constable Macharia was among the officers accompanying the accused to aid in the arrest.

When they reached the home, they surrounded the house to prevent the deceased’s escape. Kanyi opened the door to the police officers.

According to the accused police officer, Kanyi emerged with a machete and jumped behind him.

Officer Sanga says that he was the only police officer armed at the scene. He says that he first shot in the air before shooting Kanyi in his chest thus immediately killing him.

Kanyi’s body was found at his coffee plantation the following morning with a bullet wound on his chest.

When the accused police officer appeared before court to present his defence, he admitted to shooting Kanyi although claiming that it was in self-defence.

The allegations that the deceased was armed with a panga have however been refuted by International Justice Mission- Kenya, an organisation which is representing the deceased’s family in the matter.

Through lawyer Edward Mbanya, the family argues that there is a possibility that the machete was planted in the crime scene.

In documents presented before court, lawyer Mbanya notes the inconsistencies about the nature of the machete and how it was recovered from the scene.

He says that an investigating police officer attached to Mukurweini police station in his testimony before the court, said that the machete was recovered 30 metres away from the body near a cowshed at the deceased’s home compound.

“But the investigating officer further goes on to say that he was not the one who recovered the machete but it was the accused police officer who found it and handed it over to him,” says lawyer Mbanya in court documents.

According to the family lawyer, the testimony contradicts an earlier police report to the court which shows that the machete was found next to the deceased’s body.

Following the recovery of the machete, lawyer Mbanya faults the investigating officer for failing to inform the Scenes of Crime Officer to take a photo of the weapon.

He further argues that there are contradictions about the nature of the machete; while some of the witnesses say it had a wooden handle others he says, have told the court that it was made of a black tyre handle.

In her testimony, the deceased’s wife denies the existence of a machete saying that on the fateful night, she had locked a machete together with her utensils in an external kitchen.

She said that the kitchen was inaccessible as it was locked with a padlock.

IPOA and the family have since accused the police officer of using excessive force.

While deferring the judgement today (Thursday), Justice Martin Muya said that the court’s decision on the case was not ready.

 “The matter will be heard on September 20, when the court will deliver its  judgement on the matter,” said the judge.