Outspoken City lawyer Cliff Ombeta who has termed decision to jail three former police officers as disaster./PHOTO BY S.A.N.


City lawyer Cliff Ombeta has faulted the sentencing of three former police officers over the killing of three people six years ago, among them human rights lawyer Willie Kimani.

Speaking after judge Jessie Lesiit meted the sentences against Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku and police informer Peter Ngugi, Ombeta claimed the Judge was under pressure to jail convicts.

Leliman, whom the court said had a vendetta against one of the victims Josphat Mwenda, who sentenced to death while Cheburet was handed 30 years in jail and Wanjiku was slapped with 24 years behind bars. Ngugi was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

They were found guilty of killing Kimani, his client Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri, almost seven years ago.

Ombeta claimed the presiding judge was under pressure from the public and civil society groups and that she meted the judgement without considering all evidence.

The lawyer said the judge also ignored evidence from the convicts including an alibi by Leliman, who could not have been at the scene of crime.

Lawyer Ombeta also said the judge chose to ignore technology and data evidence presented by Leliman and Cheburet but selectively used the same to acquit another police officer who had been implicated in the murder.

“1st accused did not work on that day therefore had no access to the radio, yet the court concluded by importing evidence that he did and radio data and phone data for 1st accused could not be married as to have been together,” said Ombeta.

He said his client had arrested Mwenda, took him to court and testified and could not have been motivated by malice when Mwenda reported him to IPOA because it was in the course of his duties.

Lawyer Ombeta added that there was a lot of contradictions, including which motor vehicle was being used by Leliman.

“Was it white? Silver? Was it an NZE or Nissan? Was it in a garage or not? What registration, because even in the confession it was not there?” He said.

He said Leliman’s phone was switched on throughout and was never in any of the scenes including Syokimau, mastermind and Kilimambogo.

“How did the court arrive at the conclusion that the second accused person was on duty when data and duty roaster prove otherwise?” posed lawyer Ombeta.

He added, “The court had made up its mind from the word go. A dog had been given a bad name and the court added other bad names to kick it.”

Lawyer Ombeta said that the judgment was bad in law and fact. “You do not convict someone because you assume or think or believe he did it. That is why facts in evidence must be used, not suspicion. If we go by suspicion, nobody is safe. That is why this (the judgement) is a tragedy,” he said.

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