- The family argues that using court process to find Mutuma’s killers will jeopardize the good relationship that has existed among members of the two families and the community at large.
A family in Tigania West, Meru County, now wants to withdraw a case against a police officer accused of killing their kin on July 30, in order “to safeguard their cordial relationship with the local community.”
The late Morris Mutuma’s family led by his mother Joyce Mburung’a, brothers Wilfred Mburung’a and Festus Murega, and cousins Joshua Mutwiri and Nicholas Gitonga filed an application to stop the case from proceeding to trial, insisting that they have opted to settle the matter traditionally, to maintain good relations in the community.
Deceased family wants to ‘maintain cordial relationship
In a sworn affidavit tabled before the Meru High Court, the family says they are members of the Meru community and strict observers of the Ameru cultural practices and traditions.
“The family members and the community of the deceased have deliberated on the matter and resolved to end the dispute traditionally and amicably to safeguard their cordial relationship in the community,” read the affidavit in part.
According to the family, using court process to find Mutuma’s killers will jeopardize the good relationship that has existed among members of the two families and the community at large.
“Charging the accused with the capital offence of murder will go contrary to the intention of the family of the deceased, the clan, and the community as well as to the interest of the public,” read the court papers.
Constable Peter Kinoti is alleged to have shot Mutuma, 29, at Kimachia area. On September 8, the police officer took a plea, denying killing Mutuma and was freed on a KSh300,000 bond.
The court has, however, rejected the application by the family, with Justice Edward Muriithi noting that reconciliation does not apply for murder cases.
“The court is allowed, by the law, to promote reconciliation, encourage and facilitate settlement, in an amicable way, of cases of common assault, or any other offence of a personal or private nature – not amounting to felony and not aggravated in degree. This may be on terms of payment of compensation or other terms approved by the court, as provided for under Section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” said Justice Muriithi.
Consequently, the prosecution is also opposed to the application saying that the matter is a felony. In Kenyan laws, only the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) can withdraw cases revolving around felony.
The judge said that he will set a date when the case will be heard, after consulting the DPP.