The Director of Public Prosecutions has told the High Court in Nyeri that it is not opposed to a former Kenya Defence Forces soldier's request to be allowed to represent himself in a murder trial.
In a reply to a petition filed in court by ex-major Peter Mugure, who is the main suspect in the murder of his wife, son and daughter on October 26, 2019 at the Laikipia Airbase, prosecutor Duncan Ondimu said the suspect has been cautioned about the consequences of self-representation in capital offences.
"The applicant has a right to represent himself provided that he is warned of the dangers of self-representation in murder cases," said Mr Ondimu.
The law in Article 50 2(g) states, “Every accused person has the right to a fair trial, which includes the right to choose and be represented by an advocate and be informed of this right promptly.”
Article 50 2 (h) also states that, “Every accused person has the right to a fair trial, which includes the right to have an advocate assigned to the accused person by the state and at the State’s expense, if substantial injustice would otherwise result, and to be informed of this right promptly.”
Mr Ondimu, however, told Justice Florence Muchemi that the prosecution cannot release Mr Mugure’s vehicle as requested in his application in court. According to him, the motor vehicle is listed as an exhibit.
“The said vehicle was used to ferry the bodies of his wife Joyce Syombua and his two children Shanice Maua and Peter Mwaura Junior from Laikipia military camp to where they were disposed of,” said Mr Ondimu.
The prosecution has also asked the court to decline the ex-soldier’s application seeking a review of the ruling on whether he is to be released on bail or bond terms.
According to Mr Ondimu, the suspect has not provided any new material evidence that will lead to a review of the judgement given on February 21, 2020.
An affidavit written by the investigating officer Reuben Mwaniki shows that Justice Jairus Ngaah, in a ruling, denied the suspect bail after he found that he tried to interfere with the investigations of the case.
“The court found compelling reasons to warrant the detention of the accused pending the hearing and determination of this case and if released, the suspect who is facing a maximum sentence of death if found guilty might be tempted to abscond trial,” said Mr Mwaniki.
Mr Mwaniki further said he has disclosed all the evidence that the prosecution intends to use against the suspect as required.
“The police are not withholding any military file belonging to the suspect as alleged in the petition,” he said.
In the petition, Mr Mugure requested the court to allow him to represent himself for the interest of full justice. This was after he hired and fired three lawyers.
He also requested for a bail review application and release of his motor vehicle and other personal effects, among them his ATM cards.
“The police should also be compelled to hand over my military file without unreasonable delay,” Mugure further told the court.
He is accused of killing his wife Syombua, 31, and two children aged 10 and five years. His co-accused Mr Collins Pamba was a casual labourer on October 26, 2019 while at the Laikipia Airbase in Nanyuki town.
Mr Pamba is currently being held at the Kerugoya prison. The case will be heard on May 20.