A Court in Naivasha has acquitted nine Solai dam tragedy suspects charged with manslaughter citing failure by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute the case.
Perry Manusukh Kanasagara the owner of the farm and the others were charged with 48 counts of manslaughter on 9th of May 2018 in Solai Nakuru and failing to prepare an environmental impact assessment report.
Manusukh and the other eight Vinoj Jaya Kumar, Johnson Njuguna, Luka Kipyegen, Winnie Muthoni, Jacinta Were, Tomkin Odo Odhiambo, Williec Omondi and Lynette Cheruiyot are now free after Naivasha Chief Magistrate Kennedy Bidali dismissed the case.
In his ruling, Bidali accused the prosecution of holding the court hostage by failing to appear in court on several occasions.
He said little progress had been made noting that the nine accused deserved a fair trial which could not be given due to various adjournments by the prosecution.
“The court has on various occasions set aside twelve days for the case to be heard only for the prosecution to miss out without giving a proper explanation,” he said.
While acquitting the suspects, the magistrate noted that 18 months since the case kicked off, the office of the DPP had failed to produce a single witness or witness statement.
“No Court should be held ransom by the office of the DPP and the accused have the right to fair and speedy trail but the prosecution has time and again proved it was not ready to handle this case,” he said.
Bidali noted that the ODPP had last year indicated that it was seeking a plea bargain with the owner of the farm but no report had been made to the court in relation to this.
State counsel Catherine Mwaniki however said that they will appeal the ruling.
“There was a petition by the victims of the tragedy to be enjoined in the case and we were waiting for that before kicking of this case,” she said.