Murder suspects will not be subjected to mental examination before taking plea – court rules

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 4 Nov, 2021 15:46 | < 1 min read
John Nyaga, a resident of Githiga village in Embu North walked out of Embu law courts a free man after Senior Resident Magistrate Tony Kwambai ruled that he had no case to answer. A gavel. PHOTO | FILE
A gavel. PHOTO | FILE
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It is now official that murder suspects will not be subjected to mental examination before they plead to murder charges.

In a landmark ruling, Justice Grace Nzioka said that it is not stipulated in the legal statutes or in the constitution that capital offenders be subjected to mental assessment before they stand trial.

The judge however said it is optional for capital offenders to be mentally assessed.

Nzioka departed from the normal procedure whereby all murder suspects arraigned in court are taken to Mathare Mental hospital for mental examination to establish their status before they can answer the charges.

“There is no requirement to have murder suspects examined mentally before they can plead to charges,” justice Nzioka ruled.

She added that the long practised procedure clogs the trial, thereby enhancing a backlog of cases in the courts.

The Judge made the ruling in a case where a police officer Msuya Ngolo Lewis is accused of killing Muktar Said Ibrahim in Kona- Mbaya Junction in Starehe sub-county, Nairobi on November 12, 2017.

The officer through lawyer Danstan Omari raised an objection to have him remanded for 10 days for mental assessment to be carried out before he could plea to the charges against him.

The DPP through state counsel Wangui Gichuhi had on October 25, 2021, sought to have Ngolo remanded at Capital Hill police station for ten days to enable the investigating officers to have him undergo a mental assessment test.

Following the ruling, the officer is now expected to take plea on Friday this week.