Three police officers accused of aiding self-confessed serial killer, Masten Wanjala, to escape custody now risk 7 years in jail if found guilty.
Philip Mbithi,Kamakia Mutuma Boniface and Precious Mwende Mwinzi, who appeared before Nairobi Principal magistrate Bernard Ochoi, pleaded not guilty to two counts of aiding a prisoner to escape contrary to the law and neglect of official duty.
According to the charge sheet, on the night of October 12 and October 13, 2021 at the Jogoo road police station within Nairobi county, the trio allegedly aided Masten Wanjala to escape from lawful custody.
In the second count the officers are charged with neglect of official duty. It is alleged that being employees of the public service, they willfully failed to prevent the escape of Masten Wanjala, a duty they were dutifully bound to perform under the National Police Service Act.
The State Counsel James Gachoka, told the court that they are not opposed to the release of the suspects on bail pending trial.
Lawyer Danstan Omari, who is representing the suspects, asked the court to release the them on bail pending trial. Omari told the court that the accused will be challenging the charges later on.
"Under the National Police Service Act once a suspect has escaped from lawful police custody and is arrested the matter is dealt with administratively. However, since the accused are before you we avoid that line because it will be a protracted battle with the state. We are seeking you to enter them into a reasonable bail terms and cash bail," Danstan Omari submitted.
Speaking to K24 Digital, Danstan Omari said his clients risk facing a 7-year sentence each if found guilty of the crime. He however maintained he will fight to see his clients acquitted of the charges.
Magistrate Bernard Ochoi released the suspects on a cashbail of Ksh150,000 or an alternative bond of Ksh300,000 with one contact person.
The matter will be mentioned on November 4, 2021 before the trial court.