‘Cop had no intention to kill victim,’ court rules as officer’s murder charge reduced

‘Cop had no intention to kill victim,’ court rules as officer’s murder charge reduced

A police officer who had been charged with killing a girl in Mpeketoni, Lamu County in 2015 on Thursday had his murder charge reduced to manslaughter.

The court ruled that officer Salim Ahmed was not guilty of murder as charged as he had no intention to kill Margaret Njeri on January 17, 2015.

The judgment written by Justice Said Chitembwe in Marsabit and delivered by Justice Weldon Korir found that the prosecution evidence did not establish any malice on the side of the accused person.

At the same time, Justice Korir cancelled the bond for the officer ordering he be remanded at the Malindi GK prison to wait for the verdict of his judgment after the reduction of his charges.

Ahmed will wait until October 22 to know his fate when the court is set to make the final verdict.

“In the end I do find that the accused is not guilty of the offence of murder as charged, the accused is however found guilty of the offence of manslaughter contrary to section 202 as read, with section 205 of the penal code and is convicted accordingly,’’ ruled the judge.

The 54-page judgment was read in a packed court room and in attendance was the deceased’s mother Miriam Njeri.

It is alleged that the officer, who was then based in Mpeketoni was on patrol with colleagues when he ordered a bodaboda rider, George Migwi Wathira to stop but he refused forcing the officer to swing the butt of his rifle that led the girl to fall down.

In his judgment, Justice Korir said that even though there was a curfew on the day the incident happened, it did not justify the use of a firearm.

“Whether the accused swung the rifle or held it by the motorcycle and only extended it, both actions were uncalled for,’’ he said.

Justice Korir added that based on the evidence on record, the deceased could not have died had the accused not used his rifle.

“The cause of death was caused by the use of a rifle by the accused. I do find that the accused swung his gun and hit the deceased, it does not matter whether the injuries were caused by the impact of the gun or the impact after the deceased fell and hit the ground,’’ he said adding that the officer’s actions were reckless and negligent since he was not under any threat.

However, the judge said the incident was accidental as the main ingredients of murder was malice aforethought.

“He ought to have exercised restraint, the fact that the curfew had been imposed due to Al Shabab attacks cannot justify the accused’s action,’’ he added.

The deceased’s mother thanked the court for ensuring justice had prevailed saying they hope the officer will get the sentence he deserves so as to serve as a lesson to other police officers .

They also called on the government to compensate them for the costs they had used in trying to seek justice.