Former cop found guilty of manslaughter after shooting man dead in Nyeri


• Former Constable Chibungu Sanga was convicted on Monday at a High Court in Nyeri.



A former police officer has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Former Constable Chibungu Sanga was convicted on Monday at a High Court in Nyeri after the judge acknowledged that there was proof beyond reasonable doubt that he caused the death of one Gregory Kingori Kanyi.

The court found that during the incident leading to the latter's death on March 8, 2015, at Kiriiti village in Mukurweini subcounty in Nyeri, Sanga unlawfully used excessive force.

He was arrested and after an investigation by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, he was arraigned.

Sanga pleaded not guilty to the offence on September 16, 2015, and a trial began.

The prosecution called 14 witnesses.

The court heard that on the day the offence was committed, four officers including Sanga went to Kanyi's house at 01:00 am to arrest him for an alleged petty crime.

Shortly after, Kanyi's family heard gunshots and upon checking, they found his body in a coffee plantation.

When Sanga was put on the defence, he claimed self-defence against Kanyi, alleging that the latter attempted to attack him using a panga, resisting arrest.

The former officer went on to say he got cut wounds on his fingers.

Delivering the judgement on November 30, Justice Martin Muya said though it was doubtful, even if the panga was used against the officers, the force Kanyi used was not proportionate to the objective of the arrest.

He also questioned the urgency and rationale of effecting an arrest past midnight for a petty crime.

Upon reviewing the case, the judge however reduced the charge from murder to manslaughter.

This is after he said that the prosecution failed to support a murder conviction.

“Malice aforethought as defined in Section 206 of the Penal Code was not proved, that is; the intention to cause death of the deceased,” Justice Muya said.

"The charge of murder contrary to section 203 of the Penal Code cannot stand, but I am satisfied that the offence of manslaughter has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.” 

Following the court's decision, Kanyi's widow Gladys Gathoni said she hoped for a murder conviction.

She however expressed her joy that the former officer had been found guilty of her husband's death.

“Since my husband died, eight years ago, life has been hard for me and the children. We have suffered as a family. We are however hopeful that justice will be served,” she said.

Sharing her sentiments, the lawyer representing the family, Edward Mbanya of the International Justice Mission said the manslaughter verdict was lenient as the family had hoped Sanga would be convicted of murder.

“It has been a long and traumatic journey for the family. We had hoped to get a murder conviction. A manslaughter conviction has somehow diluted the expectations we had,” Mbanya said.

He will be remanded at King’on’go GK Prison pending sentencing on December 14, 2023.

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