Police mishandled investigations into lawyer Willy Kimani’s murder – judge
High Court Judge Luka Kimaru has castigated the police for mishandling investigations into the murder of lawyer Willy Kimani, his client Josphat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.
Judge Luka Kimaru who described Willy Kimani as a champion of human rights and a hardworking lawyer also said that the police service should fight impunity within the members of its rank.
Kimaru asked the police to build trust and confidence among Kenyans, adding that the police should execute their mandate in a professional way.
“Willy Kimani should be recognised a champion of human rights and the rule of law who was killed in the line of his duty,” Kimaru said.
In a one-hour ruling, the judge said that facts of the application disclose the existence of a culture of impunity in the police force that enable such acts as were perpetrated by the alleged administration police officers to take place, adding that unless the conditions that breed and feed that mentality are weeded out from the police service such habits are bound to be repeated.
“It was apparent to this court from the conduct of the police in this case, that the police would not have properly investigated the case with a view of bringing the culprit involved in the disappearance and murder of the three people to book, ” Kimaru noted.
The court further ruled that dynamics of the case only changed when the Law society of Kenya took up the case on behalf of the deceased.
It was heard that the circumstances in which the three were held was unlawful and in breach of their constitutional right to liberty since they were arrested outside the authority of the law.
The court wondered why the police hierarchy believed the officers at the Syokimau Chief Camp and not the witness who had recorded statements confirming the presence of the three people at the chief’s camp.
“It is clear that the investigations were timid first by the denial of the officers based at the Syokimau chief’s camp of ever holding the three in their custody,” said the judge.
Judge Kimaru also ruled that there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm by the police to investigate the disappearance of the three people when the incident was first reported to them.
The court concluded that the death of the three persons should hopefully be a watershed in the way complaints and misconduct of some police officers are investigated.
The Law Society of Kenya was given a green light to amend its petition and seek compensation from the government on behalf of the slain lawyer and two others. The case was transferred the constitutional and human rights division.
So far four administration police officers have been charged with the murder of the three persons.