Home County News Fresh trial for Solai dam suspects

Fresh trial for Solai dam suspects

Written By: KBC Reporter
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While setting aside the ruling by the lower court, High Court Judge Richard Mwongo termed the acquittal as void and ordered a fresh trial of the nine suspects.

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Last month, Naivasha Chief Magistrate Kennedy Bidali set the nine free for lack of ‘willingness’ and support from the DPP office in prosecuting the case.

The magistrate lay the blame squarely on the office of the ODPP noting that months since the case started little progress had been made with adjournments been the order of the day.

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.

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But in his ruling delivered through a video-link, the judge noted that the interests of the victims and their suffering had not been considered while acquitting the suspects.

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“The suspects shall be charged afresh in another court and the previous bond terms remain the same,” he said.

Mwongo noted that another court should take over the matter and expedite the case which has dragged on for over two years.

“We are currently faced by the Covid-19 crisis which has scaled down various operations but we should work around the clock to make sure that the case kicks off,” he said.

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The Judge noted that the victims of the case who were represented by the DPP were never given a chance to have their grievances heard.

“The case had never started and all the witnesses lined by the prosecution are available and they have vivid memories of what happened and they should be allowed to testify,” he said.

He further directed that the case should not be adjourned for more than a month adding that an application seeking to have the victims enjoined in the main suit should be determined first.

In the case the farm owner Perry Manusukh and the others are charged with 48 counts of manslaughter on 9th of May 2018 in Solai Nakuru and failing to prepare an environmental impact assessment report.

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The other eight are Vinoj Jaya Kumar, Johnson Njuguna, Luka Kipyegen, Winnie Muthoni, Jacinta Were, Tomkin Odo Odhiambo, Williec Omondi and Lynette Cheruiyot.

Soon after the ruling last month the DPP moved to the High Court to challenge the ruling while the victims of the tragedy cried foul.

The victims led by John Ngugi who lost his wife during the tragedy blamed the DPP for the continued suffering.

“At the grounds we have continued to suffer while seeking justice and now the case we had hopes in has been thrown out,” he said.

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