The High Court in Nyeri on Tuesday deferred plea-taking of a former soldier accused of killing his estranged wife and his two children in Nanyuki.
Justice Jairus Ngaah postponed the plea-taking following an application by the Office of Director of Public Prosecution which said the accused, Peter Mugure, had not undergone mental assessment.
The Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Peter Mailanyi said Mugure could not answer to the murder charge before the mandatory psychiatric test is done.
He told the judge that the suspect was taken at Nyeri Referral Hospital for mental evaluation on December 12, which was a public holiday, but there was no psychiatrist to carry out the exercise.
“The King’ong’o prison authorities, where the suspect is detained, decided to have Mugure escorted to the hospital on Thursday December 19. We are not in a position to have him answer to the murder charge,” Mr Mailanyi explained to the court.
The State Counsel asked the judge to defer the plea-taking to Friday, a request that was granted by the court.
But in response to the application Mugure, through his lawyer, opposed the application saying he had been in custody for more than a month now.
The lawyer said the ex-military man was arrested on November 15 and the police have been delaying his trial.
“When he was first arraigned in court police were granted 21 days to detain the suspect as they complete investigations and have the suspect take plea.
“This included the mental assessment but no good reasons have been advanced on the delay,” the lawyer said.
The lawyer wanted Mugure’s mental status at any other health facility so as to expedite the trial.
Early this month on December 6, the plea-taking was deferred on the same grounds – that the suspect had not undergone mental evaluation.
While seeking to have the plea-taking deferred Mr Mailanyi had told the court that an attempt to have Mugure undergo mental evaluation at Nanyuki Referral Hospital had flopped after the psychiatrist declined to sign the medical report.
The State counsel claimed the doctor had insisted on initially talking to a relative of the accused person before she could sign the medical report.
For this reason, Mr Mailanyi told the court that the prosecution needed a postponement of plea-taking by two weeks, so as to allow the accused be taken for a second mental test at the Nyeri Referral Hospital.
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