Court gives fugitive Kevin Kang’ethe more time to hire new lawyers

Fugitive Kevin Kang’ethe, wanted for murder in the United States, will remain in a Kenyan prison for longer as he seeks a lawyer to fight extradition.

On Friday, Kang’ethe pleaded with Milimani Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina to allow him to secure the services of a lawyer to defend him in the capital case.

“I have not been able to secure the services of a lawyer to defend me in these extradition proceedings because the police have not allowed me to access my phone to call a lawyer to act for me in this matter,” Kang’ethe told Onyina.

He said he must be defended by a lawyer of his choice.

In a brief ruling, Onyina granted the international murder suspect until March 13, 2024 to secure a lawyer. Onyina said legal representation was a constitutional right of every suspect and the court could not take away his rights.

“Your application for more time to secure a lawyer is hereby granted. This case will come up on March 13, 2024 for further orders,” Onyina ruled.

The prosecution had earlier asked the court to take cognisance of the fact that the extradition process was ready but delayed by the fugitive who had escaped from lawful custody. And now, the prosecution argued, he was causing further delay by dropping his previous lawyers.

A prosecutor told Onyina that he had served Kang’ethe with all the documents prepared for court before he is extradited to America to face justice in a Boston court.

The US government has provided the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with evidence to be used in the murder case against Kang’ethe, an aviation engineer at a Boston airport.

Kang’ethe allegedly killed Margaret Mbitu, and locked her lifeless body in his car before fleeing to Kenya last year.

He was arrested in January in Kenya and was detained at Muthaiga police station awaiting extradition to America. He sneaked out of the station and was captured six days later in Ngong.

The DPP applied to the court to have the suspect remanded in a high-security remand prison, where he will remain pending extradition proceedings.

Following the escape from Muthaiga Police Station, Onyina granted the DPP’s request to keep the suspect in a high security remand for his own safety as angry members of the public are baying for his blood following the heinous and gruesome murder of his former lover in a distant country.

In his ruling, Onyina said: “The DPP’s application for Kang’ethe to be remanded in custody has merit because the police who were allowed to keep him are the subject of investigations to establish how he escaped from Muthaiga police station.”

The magistrate said the DPP’s fears that the suspect would abscond if kept in police custody were genuine and well-founded.

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