Shoddy CCTV analysis frees suspect in KDF officer’s killing

On the night of November 26, 2019, Kenya Defence Forces officer, Benard Kibet, was found murdered outside a club in Nakuru Town West sub-county.

The police, upon analysing the CCTV footage from the Kaptembwa bar, arrested Clement Kiprop Chesire and charged him with the murder of the military man.

According to their report, Mr Chesire had on the night of November 25 and 26, 2019 fought Mr Kibet to death over a woman who had joined them at the club.

Five prosecution witnesses including a pathologist, police officers, and staff at the bar, were lined up to testify against Mr Chesire to secure conviction.

But four years later, shoddy work by the police would see the prosecution fail to convince Justice Hedwig Ong’udi that Mr Chesire killed the army officer.

And in her ruling of no case to answer which she delivered last week, the judge acquitted him under section 306 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code after finding no evidence linking him to the murder.

“For my part, I find no Prima Facie case established against the accused. I therefore dismiss the charge against him and acquit him under section 306 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. He shall be released unless otherwise lawfully held under a separate warrant,” ruled Justice Ong’udi.

The release of Mr Chesire left the public with many questions regarding the quality of investigations that were done by the police.

What exactly went wrong?

Well, according to the judge, the prosecution failed to prove to the court why Mr Chesire was arrested and charged with murder.

From the five witnesses, Bernard Kirui, then attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations office in Nakuru, said he was on duty in November 2019 when he received a call of a murder from the Kaptembwo Police Station OCS.

He, alongside another Inspector Musila, went to the scene where they found Mr Kibet dead.  They arrested Mr Chesire from a bar in Nakuru town after seeing his photos on the CCTV.

Dr Sila Kisingu, a consultant pathologist who did the post-mortem on December 3, 2019, said Kibet had several injuries all over his body and opined the cause of death to cardiopulmonary arrest due to severe asphyxia with severe airway inlet injuries, severe head injuries, and multiple blunt force trauma.

Eric Kiprotich, who was at the club on the fateful night, said he witnessed a fight after a certain lady came to the bar before a security man came and removed the fighters. He however could not identify those who were fighting.

Dorcas Chepchumba, who worked at the club, said she was on duty when two male customers began fighting over a lady who had joined them.

She called the security guard identified as Rono who came and removed the two men from the club and threw them outside. She noted that the lady took off when the two men started fighting.

According to her, Mr Chesire was among the first three customers at the club. The two men who were fighting found them in the club.

The deceased had come to the club with his friend with whom he left.

Ms Chepchumba revealed that while at the club, someone had slapped Mr Chesire, who did not retaliate.

She said Mr Chesire was not the man who the deceased had left the club with. She also could not identify the men who were fighting.

The judge in his ruling noted that while the cause of death was ascertained, the prosecution could prove who killed him or the role they played in the murder.

According to the judge, the police could not tell the court why they arrested Mr Chesire. The only thing they say is that they arrested him after seeing his photos on CCTV, but neither said what they saw him doing on the CCTV, and neither did they produce the said photos.

“The prosecution has failed to prove to this court why the accused was arrested and charged. If he were placed on his defence and he elected to remain silent, the evidence before this court would not sustain a conviction against him,” ruled Justice Ong’udi, while freeing Mr Chesire.

And with that, Mr Chesire was granted back his freedom, while the police and prosecution were left with egg on their faces.

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