State fails to stop release of businessman accused of murdering son

A Nyeri-based businessman and four others accused of murdering his son have been released on bond after the prosecution failed to file an application for stay pending appeal.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had sought to stop the release of Stephen Wang’ondu, co-accused James Mwangi, Eddy Ngari, Raphael Kariuki and Geoffrey Waturi on a Sh1 million bond each and a surety of similar amount.

Release orders signed by the deputy registrar of the High Court Ruth Kefa, showed the prosecution had by April 4 not filed an application indicating why the suspects should not be released.

They five have denied murdering Daniel Wang’ondu, 32, whose body was found in a pool of blood at his father’s gate in Wendiga village on January 1.

When they were released on bail last week Tuesday, Wang’ondu, who is the prime suspect in the murder, did not appear in court and his lawyer Mahugu Mbarire told Justice Florence Muchemi his client was undergoing treatment at Nyeri County Referral Hospital.

While opposing the release on bail terms, Ondimu had argued that the court had failed to consider some of his submissions.

He asked the court to deny the accused bail owing to the seriousness of the offence, adding they were a flight risk, had no known abound and were likely to interfere with witnesses.

“We urge the court to look at the strength of the evidence by the prosecution and whether the suspects are a flight risk and likely to interfere with the witnesses,” Ondimu said.

Immediately after the ruling on bond, Ondimu successfully applied for stay orders stating he intended to appeal the ruling.

The judge spelt out tough conditions for the suspects release among them that the accused deposit their passports and to seek permission every time they are leaving the jurisdiction of the court.

She further warned the court would not hesitate to cancel the bond if the accused directly or indirectly interfered with the witness.

She also directed the matter be mentioned before the deputy registrar after every 30 days pending the hearing and determination of the case

“Any breach of the bond term will automatically lead to the cancellation of the same,” warned the judge.

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