The High Court in Nyeri is set to deliver a judgment in the murder trial of a police officer who allegedly shot and killed a stonemason seven years ago.
Police Constable Chibungu Sanga, formerly attached to Mukurweini Police Station, is on trial for the 2015 murder of Gregory King’ori Kanyi at Kiriti Village in Mukurweini Sub-County within Nyeri County.
The officer was arrested and charged following investigations and recommendations by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.
IPOA’s investigations revealed that on February 22, 2015, Kanyi, 33, was involved in a physical fight with a police officer identified as Constable Huja Macharia at a bar in Mukurweini town.
Two weeks later, on the night of March 7, constable Huja and his colleagues, PC Bakari, Sanga, and PC Martin Ireri, broke into Kanyi’s house at 3 a.m., which was a stone’s throw away from the station, allegedly to effect his arrest. Instead, the constable allegedly shot him.
Kanyi’s body was found at their coffee plantation the following morning with a bullet wound on his chest.
In attempts to prove the case against the police officer, the prosecution adduced evidence through 14 witnesses.
On June 23, 2021, the court ruled and placed Officer Sanga on his defense.
He admitted shooting Kanyi but said it was in self-defense. He claimed Kanyi approached him with a panga.
International Justice Mission-Kenya, representing the victims in the trial, wants the court to find that Kanyi’s death was unlawful.
As a police officer with training on how to use firearms, IJM says, the officer acted unlawfully and in contravention of his police training, the Service Standing Orders, and the National Police Service Act.
IJM says the officer used extremely violent means that were uncalled for.
“Although he stated that his intention was self-defence, which is disputed, we submit that the force used was excessive. He was required to use proportional force to the objective to be achieved of effecting an arrest,” IJM lawyer Edward Mbanya told court during the hearing.
Moreover, the conduct of the officers going to the home without a warrant of arrest and doing so at midnight on a Sunday night for a crime allegedly committed two weeks previously indicates ill intent.
IJM argues that the force used to subdue Kingori was not commensurate with the perceived danger and exceeded the parameters set by law.