Kisii High Court Judge has acquitted two suspects who had been accused of murdering an elderly woman; Sarah Osebe on March 25, 2021, in Bokeira village, Kisii South.
Five witnesses had testified against the two accused John Kerege, a son to the deceased and Robin Nyangau.
Agnes Ochere Osoro testified that she found the deceased’s body next to her husband’s grave. She went closer and realized that it was the deceased. She raised an alarm and before police could come in and collect the body. She further told the court that she had known both the suspect for a long time.
Modesta Kwamboka testified that the deceased was her mother and the first accused was her elder brother. She stated that they were only two siblings in the family. She told the court that the first accused stayed with their mother in the same homestead. They had a land dispute as her brother had wanted the deceased to sell land but she had refused.
The investigating officer told the court that there was bad blood between him and the deceased as she was against the selling of a parcel of land to the second accused person.
He however stated that they were relying on the doctor’s report which had concluded that the cause of death was the injury in the abdomen as per the report.
The post mortem on the deceased’s body was conducted by Dr Morebu Peter at Bosongo Hospital Mortuary on April 1, 2018. He found that on the respiratory system, there were multiple fractures of the 9th, 11th and 12th right ribs. The digestive system had blood on the peritoneum cavity of about 1400 ml, with a crushed liver.
He concluded that the deceased died from abdominal injury secondary to blunt force trauma on the abdomen.
The second accused denied killing the deceased. “The clothes that had been produced before the court were not mine. I had not signed anywhere that the items were recovered at my place.”
Kerage testified that he found his mother’s body at Agnes’s place. “The chief was already at the scene with police. I was asked to carry the deceased’s body to the mortuary. Later I was told to go to the police to report. On reaching there I was handcuffed and placed in custody.”
The Judge in the case Lady Justice Ougo noted that the other hurdle that the prosecution had to cross over in a bid to establish its case against the accused persons was that they were the persons who had inflicted the deceased with the fatal injuries. “The prosecution sought to rely on circumstantial evidence to prove this element of the offence of murder.
The judge said: “Although there was a lot of suspicions that the accused persons may have killed the deceased for what was said to be a land dispute, the facts presented by the prosecution did not satisfy the test to justify an inference of guilt. Suspicion however strong cannot be the basis of a conviction.”
She further said that there were significant grey areas in the chain of evidence that weakened the prosecution’s case. The totality of the evidence presented by the prosecution was insufficient to sustain a conviction. I, therefore, find that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
By Frank Akunga