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Justices Lessit and Makhandia explain reasons for releasing Jennifer Wambua’s murder suspect in 2005.

 

Ever since Peter Mwangi Njenga alias Sankale was arrested on suspicion of the murder of National Lands Commission deputy director of communications Jennifer Wambua, one thorny issue that many Kenyans have been seeking answers for is why Sankale was ever set free back in 2005, even after being found guilty of robbery with violence, and being sentenced to death by a Kibera Senior Resident’s Magistrate Court.

 

Back in 2002, Ole Sankale was arrested together with his said accomplice, Geoffrey Ambani Makamu, and the two were charged with violently robbing a woman of 950 shillings while armed with dangerous weapons in Kajiado.

 

It was alleged that the two waylaid a lady who was walking back to her home with a woman friend. After she parted ways with her friend and was waiting for her gateman to open the gate, they allegedly hit her on the head with an iron bar and robbed her.

 

The victim couldn’t identify any of the two, but a witness who saw the who incident did, and identified Mwangi. Mwangi was then arrested with Makamu, who was found in possession of the stolen items.

 

In their appeal ruling however, Judges Lessit and Makhandia said that the identification wasn’t proof enough, and just because Mwangi alias Sankale was arrested together with Makamu didn’t mean he was guilty too. Their Judgment read;

 

For the 1st Appellant the evidence of identification by PW2 did not receive any corroboration from any other evidence. The fact that PW3 arrested the 1st Appellant in the company of 2nd Appellant would not offer the corroboration required to convict. PW3 did not recover anything from the 1st Appellant. He merely arrested him on the basis of information received from a person not called as a witness. We find that the conviction against him was weak and should not be allowed to stand.

We have considered all the issues raised by the Appellant in their petitions of appeal. We find that the 1st Appellant’s appeal has merit. Consequently we allow his appeal, quash the conviction and set aside the sentence. The 2nd Appellant’s conviction was safe and consequently we dismiss his appeal, uphold the conviction and confirm the sentence. The 1st Appellant should be set at liberty unless he is otherwise lawfully held

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    Written by Joshua Wanga

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