BY ALBERT NYAKUNDI
TWO police officers have been found guilty of manslaughter for killing a woman at City Park three years ago.
William Kipkorir Chirchir and Godfrey Kipng’etich Kirui shot dead Janet Wangui in May 20,2018.
The two were jointly charged with the murder of Janet Wangui Waiyaki on June 11, 2018 but they denied the charge.
Waiyaki was inside a private car with her nephew Bernard Chege during the 10:30 AM incident.
Chege sustained injuries.
Their conviction comes barely two months after another police officer was
found guilty and convicted for the murder of a fisherman in Naivasha in 2014.
The families of both victims were represented in court by the International Justice Mission (IJM-Kenya).
IJM is a global organization that has been operational in Kenya for two decades.
IJM-Kenya partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen public justice systems.
Chirchir and Kirui claimed that they were responding to a terror alert during the shooting in Parklands.
Chege and the deceased, however, did not resist the attempt by the police to arrest them.
The prosecution lined up twenty-two witnesses among them police officers who testified against the cops.
In her ruling in December 2020, Justice Stella Mutuku ruled that the policemen had a case to answer.
In her judgment on Tuesday, Mutuku said Chirchir and Kirui acted recklessly and against the law when they shot and killed Wangui on May 20, 2018.
They were put on their defense after the court ruled that the prosecution’s evidence placed them at the crime scene.
The judge said they used excessive force, yet they faced no danger.
“It is clear to me after considering all the evidence surrounding the shooting that the force used was not proportional to the objective to be achieved. There was no offence involved, none had been committed,” She said.
She said it was unlawful for the officers to shoot when they did not face any threat since the vehicle drove off in a bid to flee when they approached it.
Mutuku said, “I am persuaded to give the officers the benefit of doubt that their intention was not to kill the deceased even though this court finds that they acted contrary to the law. This brings me to the conclusion that the evidence before me is that of manslaughter and not murder.”
Case resumes Thursday May 13, 2021 for mitigation and sentencing.
In a press statement to newsrooms, IJM Kenya Country Director Benson Shamala supported the judgement.
He said the conviction of the two is another big step in holding errant police officers to account for using excessive force against unarmed citizens.
He said the conviction sends a message that those in power will be held accountable in court if they abuse their powers.
Shamala said the organization will continue to demand for accountability for any police officer who violates the law.