Politics and policy
Six AP officers sentenced to death for taxi driver killings
Posted Wednesday, December 19 2012 at 19:56
- The six AP officers were found guilty of killing the taxi drivers on March 11, 2010 on Naivasha Road in Kawangware, Nairobi.
- Justice Fred Ochieng said the officers bore the responsibility bestowed on persons licensed to carry firearms.
- They had pleaded with the judge for leniency on the grounds that they had family responsibilities and had spent two years in remand.
Six Administration Police (AP) officers have been sentenced to death for killing seven taxi drivers in Kawangware two years ago. The six were found guilty of the killings on Tuesday.
Justice Fred Ochieng said the APs bore the responsibility bestowed on persons licensed to carry firearms.
“I note that all accused persons are remorseful. However, seven persons lost their lives due to their actions and they, too, left families who depended on them,” ruled Justice Ochieng.
The six were found guilty of killing the taxi drivers on March 11, 2010 on Naivasha Road in Kawangware, Nairobi.
Justice Ochieng said that although the death sentence was not mandatory, it was yet to be removed from the statute books. The difficult jobs of police officers, he noted, can make them do unreasonable things but any person licensed to carry a firearm carries a heavy responsibility.
The APs had pleaded with the judge for leniency on the grounds that they had family responsibilities and had spent two years in remand.
Erick Ebere said he was only 26-years- old and had joined the police force just two years before the incident, pleading that he was the sole bread winner for his child and his ageing parents. Nelson Kipchirchir pleaded with the court to consider his 17 years of service in the force and the fact that he is taking care of a ageing members of the family.
Cliff Ombeta, representing the accused police officers, told the court that the accused had reported for duty on the fateful day with the intention to work, not kill.
However, the judge said that there was no doubt all the seven drivers were killed by bullets. The accused officers confirmed they were within the crime scene, were on duty and were all armed with loaded guns.
Even though the judge appreciated the role played by police in protecting lives and property, he ruled that the officers had not shown the shooting was the only practicable solution to the stand-off.
Speaking to journalists outside the Milimani Law Courts after the ruling, Mr Ombeta said the accused would appeal the sentence.
“We are going to appeal. The Judge agreed they were in the line of duty; that means it was not premeditated but was just forced by circumstances,” said Mr Ombeta.