The family of the Nyeri tycoon accused of plotting the murder of his son two months ago will join the trial as ‘victims of the killing’.
Mr Stephen Wang’ondu will come face-to-face with his estranged wife and three children in court as detectives vow to ensure justice is served following the savage killing of Daniel Mwangi on January 1.
The deceased’s mother, Scolastica Wacuka, and her children Martha Nyawira, Rosemary Mucii and Crispin Kinini yesterday sought to participate in the case “to find the truth”.
In his application during the bail hearing at the High Court in Nyeri, lawyer Wilfred Nderitu said his clients have suffered pain as a result of Mwangi’s callous murder in which the father is accused of orchestrating.
“The victims have suffered pain and all they want is to heal and find out the truth about who killed their kin and why,” Mr Nderitu said.
Justice Florence Muchemi granted their request, although the family said it would not take a definite stand or interfere with the proceedings but only wanted representation as “victims of the killing”.
Mr Wang’ondu has been charged alongside James Mwangi, Eddy Kariuki, Raphael Wachira and Geoffrey Warutumo.
The prosecution opposed their bail application, terming them as flight risks. Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu raised concerns that Mr Wang’ondu could interfere with witnesses.
Mr Wang’ondu’s lawyer, Mahugu Mbarire, cited his age and health as concerning factors regarding his proposed detention during trial.
He said his client had been warned that he could suffer a stroke, hence needed constant observation and care.
“On the plea date, my client collapsed and remained unconscious for about 30 minutes while in the holding cell. He was rushed to hospital and underwent scans. Even though the results are not out yet, he has been warned that he could suffer a stroke,” said Mr Mbarire.
The prosecution opposed this, saying no proof had been given to substantiate the claims.
The tycoon has now been placed under quarantine at the Nyeri Maximum Security Prison, King’ong’o, as a Covid-19 containment measure.
He did not appear in court during the bail hearing with the detention facility saying he will remain in quarantine for 14 days.
In a letter seen by the Nation, the officer in charge of the facility, Yusuf Koitapok, told the court registrar that the suspect had been placed under mandatory quarantine on Monday as per Health ministry protocols.
It was not clear if he had been tested for Covid-19. His lawyer, however, sought to have him examined and treated in a hospital.
Justice Muchemi ordered a medical examination at the prison infirmary first, and if necessary, move him to the Nyeri Level Five Hospital for treatment.
The other four suspects also sought to be released on bail with their lawyers saying the prosecution had failed to prove they were flight risks.
Mr Mwangi, who is being detained at Embu Prison told, the court that there was food shortage at the facility.
The judge ordered the prosecution to probe the allegations and file a report within seven days.
The prosecution will also be required to supply the defence with witness statements within 14 days.
The ruling on the bail application will be made on April 20.